Data provided by the UK Met Office, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA and the Copernicus Climate Change Service in Europe all agrees that the past five years have been the hottest since global temperature recording began in 1850. The average temperature for 2019 was around 1.1C above the average for 1850 to 1900.

Whilst data from instruments only stretches back to 1850, data from ice cores taken from Greenland and Antarctica show that the world has not been as warm as it is now for at least 100,000 years and that carbon dioxide levels have not been as high they are now for several million years.

Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said “The last decade was easily the warmest decade in the record and is the first decade more than 1C above late 19th-century temperatures."

This news comes after Monday's announcement that increased heat in the world's oceans showed 'irrefutable and accelerating' warming across the planet.  New analysis, published in Advances In Atmospheric Sciences used data from 3,800 Argo floats scattered across the world's oceans showed that 2019 ocean temperatures were 'the warmest in recorded human history'.  The ocean heat anomaly for 2019 was 228 Zetta Joules (228,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules) above the 1981 to 2000 average and 25 Zetta Joules greater than in 2018.  That 25 Zetta Joules increase is “equivalent to everyone on the planet running a hundred hairdryers or a hundred microwaves continuously for the entire year,” says the director of Penn State’s Earth System Sciences Center, Michael Mann to AFP.

The analysis shows that ocean temperatures have increased in line with greenhouse gas accumulation, with heating from 1987 to 2019 being 450% faster than it was from 1955 to 1986.  The top five years for ocean warming have all occurred since 2015.  Our oceans accumulate more than 90% of the heat trapped inside the planet's climate system, so the new information is extremely concerning.   

The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report for 2020, published this week has identified the top five most likely risks as all being environmental, namely extreme weather; climate action failure; natural disasters; biodiversity loss and human made environmental disasters.  Three of the top five biggest impacts are also environmental:- climate action failure; biodiversity loss and extreme weather.

The Met Office's forecast for 2020 suggests that it may be among the top three on record.  Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics said "...we must focus on cutting global emissions to net zero as soon as possible.  We know the transition to a net zero economy is the growth story of the 21st century."

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