The world experienced its hottest November on record, according to data from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. Globally, November temperatures were almost 0.8 degrees Celsius above the average for 1981- 2010 and 0.1 degrees higher than last year. This warming comes despite the cooling effect of the La Niña weather system.
What is Happening?
- Warm conditions persisted over large swaths of the planet, with temperatures the highest above average across Northern Europe and Siberia, as well as the Arctic Ocean, where sea ice was near its lowest extent. Much of the United States was warmer than average as well.
- Copernicus data shows that in addition to November being the hottest recorded, 2020 as a whole could be the hottest year on record. So far, it is on par with 2016, the warmest year on record, and is likely to equal the record or marginally exceed it unless temperatures drop this month.
- Last week, the World Meteorological Organization revealed that the average global temperature is about 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In a statement released by the service, the service’s director, Carlo Bountempo, says, “These records are consistent with the long-term warming trend of the global climate. All policymakers who prioritise mitigating climate risks should see these records as alarm bells.”
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In September, the world entered La Niña, a weather pattern marked by cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. Last month scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that La Niña had strengthened, meaning that surface temperatures had further declined.
However, the WMO’s secretary-general, Petteri Taalas, said that La Niña’s cooling effect “has not been sufficient to put a brake on this year’s heat.”
The five hottest years in history have all come since 2015. Earth is seeing an increase in the frequency and strength of extreme weather events as human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels contribute to a rise in average global temperatures.