Global Warming Heats 2020 to Record Temps
2020 capped off Earth’s hottest recorded decade and tied with 2016 for the hottest year, according to data released today by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a program of the European Commission.
Average global temperatures were about 2.25°F (1.25°C) above the preindustrial average. That 2020 tied 2016 alarmed climate scientists because the 2016 high was fueled in part by a largely natural El Niño cycle, which features above-average equatorial sea surface temperatures across the Pacific and adds more heat to the atmosphere, while 2020 featured a cooling La Niña cycle.
This means, in essence, human-caused global warming overwhelmed the planet’s natural cooling cycle.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will each issue their year-end global temperature data Jan. 14 and are expected to rank 2020 as either the first or second-warmest based on slight differences in measuring.