Global temperatures in 2021 are cooler than in recent years following the presence of a moderately strong La Nina event in December that cooled the tropical Pacific Ocean, reports Axios.
March was the coldest month globally since 2014 at just below 0.7 degrees Celsius and April was also relatively cool. The year 2020 ranked as the warmest year on record at 1.84 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than the baseline 1951-1980 mean, according to an analysis by NASA, following a long-term trend of global warming.
NOAA said 2020 averaged 58.77 degrees (14.88 degrees Celsius), a few hundredths of a degree behind 2016. NASA saw 2020 as warmer than 2016 but so close they are essentially tied.
Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather told Axios 2021 is still gearing up to be in the top 10 or top 5 warmest year.
“This is well in line with the long-term warming trend,” he said.
The United States, which had its fifth warmest year, smashed the record for the number of weather disasters that cost at least $1 billion with 22 of them in 2020, including hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and a Midwest derecho. The old record of 16 was set in 2011 and 2017. This was the sixth consecutive year with 10 or more billion-dollar climate disasters, with figures adjusted for inflation.
The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record and 2011-2020 was the warmest decade on record.
“It has been 28 years since the World Meteorological Organization issued the first state of the climate report in 1993, due to the concerns raised at that time about projected climate change,” World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said in a report released in mid-April.
“While understanding of the climate system and computing power have increased since then, the basic message remains the same and we now have 28 more years of data that show significant temperature increases over land and sea as well as other changes like sea level rise, melting of sea ice and glaciers and changes in precipitation patterns. This underscores the robustness of climate science based on the physical laws governing the behavior of the climate system,” he added.
President Joe Biden has vowed to reduce U.S. emissions by 50 percent to 52 percent by 2030, and earlier this year reversed former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
The accord has been adopted by nearly 200 countries to tackle global warming and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Earth has warmed 1.6 degrees (0.9 degrees Celsius) since 1942, when President-elect Joe Biden was born, and 1.2 degrees (0.6 degrees Celsius) since 1994, when pop star Justin Bieber was born, according to NOAA data.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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