New data from Copernicus, the EU’s satellite observation system, shows that last year was the warmest ever recorded in the European Union.
Despite the “La Nina” event, which usually brings cooler temperatures than usual, the records show that there was an increase of 0.4 degrees in 2020 compared with 2019.
This pattern was consistent throughout the seasons, with winter temperatures being 1.4 degrees higher than the previous year and autumn 0.4 degrees higher.
Even with COVID-19 lockdowns, which significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions across Europe, CO2 levels in the atmosphere also continued to rise last year.
Global temperatures continue to rise
The results published by the EU mirror those seen around the world. Overall, this has been the warmed decade ever recorded globally, and 2020 was tied with 2016 as the warmest.
However, it’s important to note that 2016 included a “La Nino” event, which means that global temperatures were expected to be higher than normal.
In addition to this, CO2 concentration levels in the atmosphere have continued to increase worldwide, and it’s predicted this will continue without swift action.
The largest temperature differences were seen in the Arctic and Northern Siberia. In some regions, temperatures were between 3 and 6 degrees higher than the previous average.
The year 2020 has been a very active season for wildfires in the region which release record amounts of CO2. And, sea ice levels were substantially lower during the second half of the year.
What does this mean going forward?
Temperature analysis checks are regularly carried out by EU scientists, as well as by other scientific institutions like NASA. Although there are some differences in results, most scientists agree that these changes will become an ongoing trend.
This highlights the urgency of the situation. Experts warn that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced quickly, as these are the biggest contributor to man-made global warming.
But, there may still be hope as plans under the Paris Agreement, along with new pledges from other countries, including Asia, is encouraging.
Additionally, in the EU, the head of competition recently announced that more aid would be given for climate-friendly projects that are in line with climate goals.
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