Multiple studies released Thursday confirmed Earth in 2020 rivaled 2016 as the hottest year on record. New research from NASA and the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (which released its data last week) calculated last year as tied with 2016; NOAA, Berkeley Earth, and the UK Met Office ranked 2020 just behind 2016. Meanwhile, a separate study found the oceans’ upper 2,000 meters were hotter in 2020 than ever before – and that all five of the oceans’ hottest years on record have occurred in the last five years.
The impacts of climate change in 2020 also shattered records as the US was hit by 22 disasters that caused at least $1 billion in damages, including the nation’s most active hurricane and wildfire seasons ever. “Long-term trends in temperature are very very clearly up and up and up,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
“We’re in a position where we’re pushing the climate system out of the bounds that it’s been in for tens of thousands of years, if not millions of years.” Experts said 2020’s extremes, 2.2°F (1.2°C) above pre-industrial levels, could push the planet closer to surpassing the critical 2.7°F (1.5°C) threshold within the decade. (AP, New York Times $, Washington Post $, LA Times $, Bloomberg $, Wall Street Journal $, USA Today, CBS, The Guardian, Reuters, Mashable, TechCrunch)