According to a statement released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2020 is among the three warmest years ever recorded on Earth. In December, the global organisation had declared 2011-2020 as the warmest ever decade, with the warming trend noticed with each passing decade since the 1980s.
Last year, the average global temperature recorded was 14.9 degrees Celsius, which was 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level (1850-1900). The warmest ever years recorded are 2016, 2019 and 2020, the WMO stated.
In India, too, 2020 remained the eighth warmest year recorded since 1901, when the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had started maintaining temperature records. The annual mean land surface air temperature over India last year was 0.29 degree Celsius.
This is a unique development, meteorologists said, as the year reported the prevalence of the La Nina weather pattern. This is an oceanic phenomenon when cooler than normal sea surface temperatures are recorded along the central and equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean, which in turn affects global average temperatures. The current cycle of La Nina is expected to continue till mid-2021.
“The exceptional heat of 2020 is despite a La Nina event, which is a temporary cooling effect,” said Professor Petteri Taalas, secretary-general at the WMO.
According to the Paris Climate Agreement, global average temperatures need to be controlled well below two degrees Celsius of the pre-industrial era. However, with the growing evidence, the latest incidence being in 2020, the task before all the countries remains an exceptionally humongous one. The presence of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is one of the major reasons for global warming.
According to the WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update, there is a one-in-five chance that by 2024, this temperature will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.