2020 will include three of the hottest years so far: United Nations

Extreme weather conditions exacerbated the impact of Covid-19

The merciless steps of climate change continued in 2020 as well. That is why this year is going to be included in the list of the hottest three years ever. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the decade of 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade so far, with the six warmest years beginning in 2015.

According to the provisional report by the WMO on the ‘State of the Global Climate in 2020’, the warming of the oceans has reached record levels and in the year 2020, more than 80% of the global oceans have been exposed to sea-heat wave for some time. This caused very widespread side effects on the marine ecosystem that is already undergoing a crisis due to the absorption of carbon dioxide due to excess acidic water.

This report, prepared by the contributions of dozens of international organizations and their experts, shows us that the widespread impact of extreme heat, wildfires and floods and record breaking Atlantic hurricanes have affected the lives of millions of people. This has increased the risks of human health and safety and economic stability due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

According to the report, the environmental concentration levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise despite the lockdown imposed during the Covid-19 epidemic. Many generations to come from this will have to live in an even hotter environment because the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remains for a long time.

WMO Secretary General Professor Pateri Tallas stated “Average global temperature in the year 2020 is going to increase by 1.2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial revolution (1850-1900) levels. At least one in five occasions will happen when the year By 2024, the temporary increase in global temperature will exceed 1.5 ° C. “

He said that this year is the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We welcome the recent resolutions taken by governments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, as we are not on the right track to land this agreement at the moment and we need to make more efforts.

Professor Tallus stated that the recorded warm years were usually associated with the strong impact of El Niño. As we saw in the year 2016, but now we see that the effect of La Nina, which has a cooling effect on global temperature, is also failing to curb the heat this year. Despite La Nina’s current impact, the year has come close to the summer record recorded in 2016.

He said, “Unfortunately the year 2020 is proving to be another extraordinary year for our climate. We have seen new extremes of temperature rise on Earth and the sea, especially in the Arctic. Wildfire has engulfed Australia, Siberia, and large areas of the United Nations’ west coast and South America. This has led to smoke plumes, which have covered many parts of the earth. We have witnessed a record number of hurricane storms in the Atlantic Ocean. These include Category-4 hurricanes that came one after the other in Central America in November. Due to the floods in Africa and parts of South East Asia, a large population was forced to migrate to other places and this also endangered the food security of crores of people. “

Dr Anjal Prakash, director of research at Bharti Institute of Public Policy and lead author of the IPCC Assessment Report on Oceans, said that the provisional report of the ‘State of the Global Climate’ reaffirms the facts that emerged in the IPCC SRCC report and the year 2018 Updates the science related to it since its publication in. The report shows that the ocean and cryosphere are an important component of global ecology. They regulate global climate and weather. Oceans are the major source of rain and snowfall necessary for life on Earth.

The State of Global Climate Provisional Report for the year 2020 is based on the temperature data taken between January and October this year. The final draft of the report will be published in March 2021. The report includes National Metrological and Hydrological Services, Regional and Global Climate Centers and the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, International Organization for Migration, United Nations Environment Program, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and World Information provided by various United Nations partners, including the Food Program, is included.

Temperature and heat

Between January and October 2020, the global mean temperature was recorded at 1.2 ° C higher than the 1850–1920 baseline. It has been used as an approximation of pre industrial levels. There is a high probability that the year 2020 will be among the hottest three years recorded globally. The modern work of recording temperature started in the year 1850.

The WHO estimates are based on five global temperature data sets (Figure no. 1). All these data sets present the year 2020 as the second hottest year so far. The year 2016 was the hottest year so far while 2019 has been recorded as the third warmest year. The temperature difference between these three hottest years is very small. However, when the data is available for the entire year, then the exact ranking of each data set can change.

The highest temperatures were recorded in North Asia, particularly in the Siberian Arctic, where temperatures climbed more than five degrees Celsius above average. The peak of summer in Siberia occurred in late June when the temperature in Verkhoyansk rose to 38 ° C on 20 June. This was provisionally the highest temperature recorded at any location in the northern areas of the Arctic Circle. This proved to be the fuel for the most active occurrence of wildfires in the past 18 years of data records. As estimated from the amount of carbon dioxide that arises due to fire.

Sea ice

This has happened at least 2 times since the mid-1980s when Arctic Ocean temperatures have risen at a rate comparable to the global average. This led to a long period of melting of the frozen ice layer over the Arctic Sea in summer. This had an impact on the climate of regions of mid-latitude.

The frozen ice on the Arctic Sea reached its annual lowest level in September. This was the second largest decline in the 42-year-old satellite record. In July and October 2020, the area of ​​frozen ice on the Arctic Sea has been recorded as the lowest level so far.

Frozen snow on the Laptek Sea was unprecedentedly low in spring, summer and winter. Between July and October 2020, the Northern Sea Route was either completely free of snow or on the verge of liberation.

In the year 2020, the frozen ice in the Antarctic was almost equal to or slightly above the mean of 42 years.

Despite the pace being lower than in 2019, the snow melt trend continues in Greenland and this year there was 152 GHz of snow melt.

Increase in sea level and temperature of oceans

Ocean heat content was highest in the year 2019 between 1960 and 2019. This gives clear signs of rapid heat drying by the oceans in recent decades. The increasing concentration of greenhouse gases results in over 90% of the excess energy deposited in the climate system into the ocean.

Since the beginning of 1993, the global average rate of elevation of sea level has been 3.3 + _0.3 millimeters per annum. This rate has also increased over time. The loss due to large scale melting of snow cover is the main reason for the rapid rise in the global mean of sea level.

The global mean sea water level recorded in the year 2020 is the same as the level recorded in 2019 and is in line with the long-term trend. The development of La Niña conditions has led to a slight decline in the global sea water level recently, as had occurred temporarily in previous La Niña conditions.

Like heat waves on the earth, the scorching heat can affect the layer near the surface of the oceans. Because of this, there can be a variety of side effects on marine life and the communities that depend on it. Marine surface temperature information obtained via satellite is used to monitor ocean heat waves. They can be categorized as simple, strong, excessive or extreme. Strong ocean heat waves were felt at least once in most oceans in the year 2020. Between June and October this year, extreme sea heat waves were felt in the Laptec Sea. In this region, the extent of frozen ice on the sea is usually less and the heat waves were felt in the adjoining terrain during the summer season.

The acidification of the oceans water is increasing. About 23% of the annual emissions of carbon dioxide produced by human activities are absorbed by the oceans from the atmosphere. Because of this, the effects of climate change on the earth are further increased. The price paid by the oceans due to this process is high because carbon dioxide reacts with seawater and lowers its pH level. This process is known as acidification of the ocean. The decline in pH level has been observed between 2015 and 2019 at the sites available for estimation, although last year’s figures are not available at this time. The wide range of sources, including the measurement of other things, also show that the acidification of oceans is increasing steadily on a global scale.

High impact events

Millions of people have been affected by the devastating floods in East Africa and Saheel, South Asia, China and Vietnam. Sudan and Kenya have been worst affected in Africa. In Kenya, where 285 people have died, in Sudan 155 people have lost their lives.

Among the South Asian countries, India has received the second highest monsoon rainfall since 1994. August was the rainiest month in Pakistan. Incidents of large-scale flooding occurred throughout the region, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

The Yangtze River waterlogging areas in China received continuous heavy rains, resulting in tremendous flooding. The disaster resulted in the loss of more than $ 15 billion and the death of 279 people.

Heavy rains coinciding with the arrival of the northeast monsoon in Vietnam were further aggravated by tropical cyclones and disturbances. This led to eight incidents of landslides in less than five weeks.

Heat, drought and fire

In the year 2020, many parts of South America were hit by severe drought. This caused the worst impacts on the western border regions of northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. In Brazil alone, crops worth more than three billion dollars were destroyed.

The United States recorded the largest incidence of wildfires in late summer and winter. Due to the widespread drought and severe heat, this fire broke out in the forests and between July and September the southwestern areas were found to be the hottest and driest.

In the Caribbean, April and September were the peak periods of summer wave. On April 12, according to the Cuban national record, the temperature in Vagvitas reached 39.7 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, Havana recorded the hottest day so far with 38.5 degree Celsius.

In Australia in early 2020, the heat destroyed all records. Drought and heat wave were felt in Europe but they were not as fast as 2019.

Tropical cyclones and storms

The highest number of tropical cyclone storms occurred in the year 2020 globally. By November 17 this year, 96 cyclonic storms had occurred. The North Atlantic region was very active in this manner in an unprecedented manner. There were 30 tropical storms till 17 November. This number was more than double the long-term average (1981–2010). It broke the record set for a full season in 2005. Cyclone Amphon hit the India-Bangladesh border on 20 May. It was the most devastating storm in the North Indian Ocean ever. This caused India an economic loss of about $ 14 billion. Also, a large number of people had to leave their homes and move to safer areas in the coastal areas of Bangladesh from India.

Risk and impact

In the first half of the year 2020, about one crore people had to leave their homes and go to safe places due to disasters. Most of the migration occurred due to hydro meteorological disasters. The risk of displacement of people has increased even more due to the Covid-19 epidemic. In the middle of May, more than 1,800,000 people in the Philippines had to leave their home bars as a precaution before Tropical Storm Wongfong. Due to the need to adopt social distancing due to the Covid-19 epidemic, it was very difficult to move large numbers of people together to safe places. Apart from this, the compulsion to keep people in half-capacity at the places of refuge was also revealed.

According to the FPO and WFP, in 2019, more than 50 million people suffered double-digit climatic disasters and the Covid-19 epidemic. The countries of Central America have to bear the triple whammy of Hurricane Etah, Lota and the already existing humanitarian crisis. According to Honduras government estimates, the crop sown in 53000-hectare area has been completely destroyed.

Lessons received and opportunities to increase climate protection activities

According to the International Monetary Fund IMF, the current global recession caused by the Covid-19 epidemic has made it even more challenging to implement policies to reduce emissions of polluting elements. However, it has also opened up opportunities to take the economy forward through pollution-free routes. For this, investment in pollution free and sustainable public infrastructure will have to be increased. This can increase GDP and employment even during the compensation period.