2020 was the warmest year ever in Europe, beating the previous record by a large margin. This is one of the conclusions of the report. Climate Status 2020, recently published by the American Meteorological Society, which also carries important warnings about the climate in Brazil and the Arctic.
In Europe, last year’s temperatures were more than 1.9°C above the average recorded between 1981 and 2010.
Preliminary information at the beginning of the year has already confirmed that 2020 has broken temperature records on the continent – in addition to being one of the three warmest years in the world. Now, the report notes, the difference from previous years was much higher than previously thought.
In addition to a 1.9°C warmer than the long-term average, the average temperature in 2020 was 0.5°C above the previous record.
“This level of difference – significant – from the previous long-term average is concerning,” commented Robert Dunn, chief climate scientist at Britain’s Met Office.
“It’s something to watch out for, but it’s not just warming – it’s also the extreme events and heat waves that we’ve been seeing this year and we’ve seen last year. We’re seeing them all over the world.”
Other researchers agreed that the scale of the record heat wave in Europe is alarming.
“The difference from the previous record should concern us all,” said Gabi Hegerl, professor of climate systems at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved in the study.
“European temperatures are well measured and there are records of them from the beginning of industrialization and even before, from evidence and documentary records. This long-term context reinforces just how strange this temperature is.”
The heat recorded on the European continent caused huge differences in long-term average temperatures – in countries such as Estonia, Finland and Latvia, the rise was 2.4 ° C, for example, which is considered an anomaly.
Brazil and South America
The report also highlights the “extensive drought” experienced in South America last year, “which is clearly seen in the extreme drought anomalies found in central Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.”
“One area clearly characterized by a severe drought anomaly is the Pantanal, which experienced its worst drought in 50 years, and more than a quarter of its area has been burned,” the report says.
The text also highlights that rainfall was lower than normal over much of central South America, including the Andes and the Pantanal.
In the world, in general, precipitation has not been low, in apparent response to excessive heat. Overall evaporation was well above average – and the humidity ended up making the heat feel worse in some parts.
Another region that is rapidly warming is the Arctic: temperatures on Earth have reached alarming new levels, 2.1°C above the average recorded between 1981 and 2010. Temperatures have reached their highest level since the beginning of records, as She is 121 years old.
Together, the indicators show what one of the report’s editors calls our “new normal” in climate.
“This report closely follows (the findings) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which could not be more explicit in its messages,” says expert Kate Willett, also from the UK Climate Agency.
“Our climate has changed and will likely continue to change unless the main driver, greenhouse gases, is contained. What we’re seeing is really a drain on our society and our environment.”
The concentration of greenhouse gases was also the highest ever, although many countries have reduced their emissions due to the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Global sea level was the highest ever, rising for the ninth consecutive year.
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