2020 Ties For Hottest Year On Record Or Was A Close Second, Studies Find

Topline

Global temperatures last year tied for the warmest ever, a study released Thursday by NASA found, while another using different methodology from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded it was the second warmest on record.

Key Facts

According to NOAA, the average land and ocean surface temperature on Earth in 2020 was 1.76°F above the 20th-century average of 57.5°F.

That’s just 0.04°F short of 2016, the hottest year ever by NOAA’s reckoning.

The NASA study concluded that 2020 was actually warmer than 2016, but by a small amount within the analysis’ margin or error, leading the organization to deem 2020 and 2016 tied for the Earth’s hottest year.

Last week, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said its research indicates a tie between 2020 and 2016.

While all three use slightly different parameters to measure the Earth’s temperature, there’s one thing they all agree on—the planet is steadily warming, and climate change poses a threat to life on it.

Crucial Quote

“Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important,” Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director said in a statement Thursday. “The important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”

Key Background

According to NOAA, each of the past seven years have been among the Earth’s seven warmest on record, while 10 of the planet’s hottest years have been recorded since 2005. While a report released this week by the Rhodium Group found coronavirus pandemic shutdowns caused the biggest annual drop in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. since World War II, it’s still not enough to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Accord.

Further Reading

Coronavirus causes largest U.S. greenhouse gas emissions drop since World War Two: report (Reuters)

Covid-19 Lockdowns Improved Air Quality But Far Less Than Expected (Forbes)

Mysterious Dolphin Deaths Linked To Climate Change In New Study (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/carlieporterfield/2021/01/14/2020-ties-for-hottest-year-on-record-or-was-a-close-second-studies-find/