Forest fires, locust mobs, and a raging pandemic, these are only a few of the things wrong with this year. Halfway through, the year has decided to throw yet another fighter in the ring: heat.
According to meteorologists, 2020 is set to become the hottest year since measurements began—sometime in the late 1800s. Currently, the record is held by 2016, an El Niño, which usually brings higher temperatures along. 2020, however, is not an El Niño year. There is a 50 to 75 per cent chance that 2020 will break the record.
Both hemispheres have seen increasing temperatures as both Antarctica and Greenland have recorded their hottest temperatures ever since January. While the lockdowns have helped in dissipating some of the smog clouding up city skylines, they haven’t aided climate change in the least.
Climate tracking agencies like NASA, NOAA, Berkeley Earth and Copernicus have all declared that May 2020 was the hottest May ever. According to NASA and Berkeley Earth, 2020 is currently the second hottest year on record, 2016 still reigning thanks to its Super El Niño.
There are severe forest fires sweeping through the Arctic and exceptionally high temperatures have been recorded in Siberia and the neighbouring region. The fires have released unprecedented smoke into the atmosphere. Since the Arctic region is a significant zone to monitor climate change, this will likely affect the rest of the planet, as will the smoke, which will spread to other areas in the world. Nearly 3.5 million acres of the Arctic is on fire, the fire zone having tripled in the last week itself, according to Russia’s forest fire agency. Copernicus has announced this as the “highest-estimated emissions” since records began.
The five warmest years in recorded history have been since 2015, and 2020 is likely to continue this trend, pandemic or not.