2020 on the road to being the warmest year ever


Hunter Berube

Suffolk Climate Watch graphic

September has been recorded as the hottest on a global record, leading 2020 to be on course for the warmest year ever.

Human activities have been driving greenhouse gas emissions through land use, agriculture and other damaging processes. 

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane have increased to their highest levels in a few million years, according to M News

The first nine months of 2020 saw major measures of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, according to the World Economic Forum

Major La Niña events have also been the cause of prior warm years. These events are known as weather patterns that occur in the Pacific. In these patterns, warm waters are blown by strong winds at the ocean surface from South American to Indonesia. 

When warm water moves towards the west, the cold water from below rises up the surface near the South American coast. 

With the high concentrations of greenhouse gases, there is a drastic difference between September temperatures of 2019 and 2020. This past September was 0.05C warmer than last September, according to M News

The volume of sea ice has been severely declining for the past 50 years, contributing to the dangerous warming trend, according to the World Economic Forum

A study conducted by Carbon Brief has shown that since the year 1970, surface waters have been warming around 0.9°C. This translates to about 0.18°C per decade. 

Periods of high temperatures come from the coast of northern Siberia, parts of Australia and South America and the Middle East. According to M News, Europe has additionally seen an increasing heatwave throughout the year. 

There are La Niña conditions that have been growing in the Pacific and are likely to exhaust themselves within the next few months, but will most likely energize in 2021, according to Carbon Brief.

 With this possibility, there are chances that next year will be fairly cooler than 2020.