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This is official. According to data from US government agencies, 2020 was one of the warmest years on record, surpassing or slightly below record 2016, the warmest year on record. NASA said it was about the same as 2016, but the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said it reached slightly in 2016.

Regardless of the ranking, the climate trend is not good, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NOAA, which is based in New York and Washington, DC.

“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, symbolizing the dramatic warming trend underway,” GISS director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement. “It doesn’t really matter if a year was record-breaking. It’s a long-term trend. As these trends and the growing impact of humans on climate grow, we expect records to continue to break. Must be “.

Given the costs of the 22 weather and climate disasters that set records in 2020, that is a tough message to the nation. According to NOAA, climate-related disasters have killed at least 262 people and injured more.

In addition, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, tornadoes, tropical cyclones, hail storms in Texas, and bad weather such as the derecho (called storm) that destroyed the Midwest have caused the country to spend $ 95 billion (about 9.9 trillion). I suffered a loss of yen).


The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit (LNU) lightning strike complex fire on August 19, 2020 burned a house in Vacaville, California. As of midnight on August 18, 2020, the Hennessy area fires merged with at least seven fires and are now known as the LNU Lightning Combined Fire. The source of the fire spread thinly, leaving dozens of fires out of control throughout Northern California. (Image credit: JOSH EDELSON / AFP via Getty Images)

Both government agencies track temperature trends and somehow understand the impact of human activity, especially greenhouse gas emissions, on the planet. It should be noted that since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 19th century, human activity has already raised the average global temperature by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius).

The most troublesome thing for scientists is that the record temperature in 2020 happened without the backing of a climatic phenomenon known as El Nino. El Nino is a large-scale ocean-atmospheric climate interaction associated with periodic warming.

“The last record warmth of 2016 was strongly influenced by the powerful El Nino. In 2020, El Nino did not contribute in the same way. This is evidence that the climate itself continues to warm due to greenhouse gases. That’s what Schmidt said in a statement.

According to NASA, the literal warming trend is most pronounced in the Arctic. Arctic temperatures have risen three times faster than in other parts of the world in the last three decades, Schmidt said. Loss of Arctic sea ice (minimum annual area has decreased by about 13% in 10 years) reduces reflections in the region. Then, more sunlight is absorbed by the sea, and the temperature rises further.

Professor Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University emailed the Washington Post that the accelerating effects of climate change could be dangerous to the world as a whole.

“What we climate scientists are thinking about without sleeping at midnight is what we don’t know about self-reinforcement or a vicious cycle in the Earth’s climate system,” Heiho wrote. “If we go faster than we have experienced in the history of human civilization on this planet, we are at increased risk of serious and dangerous consequences, and in 2020 we witnessed it. It doesn’t matter when the effects of fluctuations appear anymore, because it’s already in front of us. The only remaining question is how much it gets worse. ”

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