Last Decade Was Earth’s Hottest On Record
For many of us, it feels like the past few days have been the hottest ever in the UK, and they’re not alone – the last decade proved to be the warmest on record.
2019 in particular saw some extremely high temperatures, with it being one of the hottest years since records began in the mid-1800s.
This year’s State of Climate report found that last year was one of the three warmest years on record – only 2016 and some datasets for 2015 proved warmer than 2019.
The State of the Climate is an annual report primarily led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center.
Robert Dunn, one of the report’s lead editors from the UK Met Office, said:
The view for 2019 is that climate indicators and observations show that the global climate is continuing to change rapidly.
Global average temperature is perhaps the simplest climate indicator through which to view the changes taking place in our climate. 2019 was one of the top three warmest years in the historical record dating back to 1850. It also marks the end of a decade in which the average global temperature had risen by 0.2°C when compared with the previous decade. And this millennium has been warmer than any comparable period since the Industrial Revolution.
Dunn also addressed how the likes of Australia’s wildfires will have contributed to last years temperature increase.
A number of extreme events, such as wildfires, heatwaves and droughts, have at least part of their root linked to the rise in global temperature. And of course the rise in global temperature is linked to another climate indicator: the ongoing rise in emissions of greenhouse gases, notably carbon-dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.
Smoke from the wildfires was detected across large parts of the Southern Hemisphere.
Albert Klein-Tank, director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said that while we have come a long way in 30 years, the next 30 years will be ‘extremely difficult’ as we continue to try tackle he climate crisis.
This year’s report also noted that the past six years have been the six warmest years on record, as well as each decade since 1980 being successively warmer than the preceding decade. The most recent (2010–19) was around 0.2°C warmer than the previous (2000–09).
As the report states:
This warming of the land and ocean surface is reflected across the globe. For example, lake and permafrost temperatures have increased; glaciers have continued to lose mass, becoming thinner for the 32nd consecutive year, with the majority also becoming shorter during 2019.
The period during which Northern Hemisphere (NH) lakes were covered in ice was seven days shorter than the 1981–2010 long-term average, based on in situ phenological records. There were fewer cool extremes and more warm extremes on land; regions including Europe, Japan, Pakistan, and India all experienced heat waves.
2019 also marked the hottest year on record in regards to above the Earth’s surface, in the troposphere. This is thought to be due to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, something which affects the planet’s rise in temperature in general.
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American Meteorological Society