2020 predicted as hottest year on record

27 July 2020 | Weather

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Global temperatures in 2020 are on pace for one of the planet's top two hottest years in 141 years.

According to separate new analyses, scientists are already predicting that this year may be the hottest ever recorded.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that temperatures in the first six months of this year were the second hottest of any January to June period, trailing behind only 2016 in records dating back to 1880. Based on this, it was calculated that there is a 36% chance that 2020 will end up as the record hottest year.



La Niña

What is noteworthy regarding the warm start of 2020, it was pointed out, is the lack of warmth provided by an El Niño, while during 2016 a record tying strong El Niño boosted global temperatures.

Outlooks indicate that this year, a La Niña may be developing instead.

Meanwhile, this June has tied for the warmest June on earth in at least 141 years of temperature records, a separate analysis found.

Data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows the earth gradually heating up since the late 19th century, and this trend has been accelerating since 2000.



0.93 degrees hotter

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies found that this June was 0.93 degrees Celsius above the 1951 to 1980 average, tying with 2019 for the warmest June in records dating back to 1880.

As confirmed by NASA and the NOAA, February to April were the second warmest of their kind ever recorded, while January and May about tied with their 2016 counterparts.

The hottest ever February, March and April also occurred in 2016.

This June also marked the 46th month and 44th straight June that global temperatures have been above average in the NOAA's database.



Above-average rainfall

The analyses noted that ultimately what is most important is not whether a given month is a fraction of a degree warmer or colder, but rather the overall trend, which has continued to climb since the late 1970s.

Meanwhile, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Outlook remains at La Niña Watch.

Although the ENSO is currently neutral, the chance of a La Niña event forming in the coming months has increased to around 50%, twice the normal likelihood.

In southern Africa, La Niña tends to be associated with above-average rainfall.

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