The year 2020 was the warmest in the history of Europe and globally equaled the 2016 record, which closed the warmest decade ever recorded, announced on Friday the European Earth observation program Copernicus.
The Copernicus annual report found that the 2010-2020 decade was the hottest in history, closing 2020 with a rise of 0.4 degrees Celsius more than in 2019.
The report also revealed that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere They continued to increase over the past year at a rate of approximately 2.3 particles per million (ppm) reaching a maximum of 431 ppm during the month of May.
The year 2020 was 0.6 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average and about 1.25 degrees above the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900.
Based on these observations, the largest annual temperature increase relative to the 1981-2010 average was concentrated in the Arctic Ocean and northern Siberia, reaching more than 6 ° C above the average.
Additionally, the wildfire season was unusually active in this region, with fires first detected in May and they continued throughout the summer and well into the fall.
As a result, fires in the Arctic Circle released a record 244 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, more than a third more than the 2019 record, adds the Copernicus report.
During the second half of the year, Arctic ice was significantly below average around this time of year, with July and October the smallest extent of sea ice on record.
Overall, the Northern Hemisphere experienced above-average temperatures during 2020 while some parts of the Southern Hemisphere recorded temperatures below average, especially in the eastern equatorial Pacific, associated with the cooler conditions of the La Niña phenomenon, which developed during the second half of the year.
In addition, in 2015 and 2016 there were strong El Niño episodes that resulted in a higher rate of atmospheric growth due to a weaker than normal absorption of carbon dioxide by the forest fires that they razed the vegetation. This contributed to the increase in temperatures of the decade.
For their part, the fires in the Arctic and Australia in 2020, although they were of unprecedented magnitude in their regions, represent only a small fraction of global emissions arising from the fires.
“Although carbon dioxide concentrations have risen slightly less in 2020 than in 2019, this is not cause for celebration. Until global emissions are reduced to zero, carbon dioxide will continue to accumulate and drive climate change“said the director of the Copernicus Atmospheric Watch Service, Vincent-Henri Peuch.
In the context of the covid-19 pandemic, the Integrated Carbon Observation System estimated that in 2019 there were a reduction of around 7% in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the consumption of fossil fuels due to the general decline in mobility.
The Copernicus project, an initiative of the European Union and operated together with the European Space Agency, aims to observe the environment to better understand the environmental changes that occur on earth.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.