Last year was the hottest worldwide and by far the warmest year in Europe. This made the years from 2015 the warmest six in its history.
The global average temperatures in 2016 were 0.6 ° C above the long-term average – despite the absence of an El Niño event, a climate phenomenon that has a warming effect. There was an El Niño in 2016.
In contrast, Europe broke the records with 1.6 ° C above the long-term average by a wide margin. This compared to the above-average 1.2 ° C in 2019 – a record even at this point in time. Norway and Sweden both had their hottest years.
Although today’s numbers from the European Copernicus Earth observation program mark 2020 as the hottest in the world, aggregated data from other major temperature data sets, including those from US agencies NASA and NOAA and the UK Met Office, could still reach the US – probably next Thursday descend second or third warmest.
The Copernicus figures for 2020 show a clear north-south separation with below-average temperatures in the southern hemisphere and above-average temperatures in the northern hemisphere. Siberia and other parts of the Arctic were exceptionally warm and in some regions were 3-6 ° C above average.
“The year 2020 was extreme for the Arctic even compared to the last 20 years,” the US National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a statement on Tuesday. This caused the Arctic sea ice to shrink to its second lowest level in history in September 2020.
Figures released this week by Mark Parrington at Copernicus also show that media attention was focused on exceptional flames in the US and Australia, while forest fires due to below-average fires in Africa were at one of the lowest levels in the world in two decades.
Separately, the UK’s Met Office announced today that it expects atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to pass the 50 percent higher milestone this year than before the Industrial Revolution, reaching 417 ppm between April and June when seasonal CO2 levels are reached reach their peak.