2019 was 2nd hottest year on record

Left: People cooling off in a Paris fountain as a heatwave broke temperature records in France last July. Right: The "Cave Fire" burning a hillside in Santa Barbara, California in November last year. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
People cooling off in a Paris fountain as a heatwave broke temperature records in France last July. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Left: People cooling off in a Paris fountain as a heatwave broke temperature records in France last July. Right: The "Cave Fire" burning a hillside in Santa Barbara, California in November last year. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
The "Cave Fire" burning a hillside in Santa Barbara, California in November last year. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

EU's climate monitoring service says last decade also warmest in history

The year 2019 was the second hottest year on record, the European Union's climate monitoring service said yesterday, with many of the individual months breaking temperature records.

Worldwide temperatures were only 0.04 deg C lower than in 2016, the warmest year on record, data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) shows.

Also, the five warmest years on record occurred in the last five years, while the period 2010-2019 was the warmest decade on record, with average temperatures going up by 0.6 deg C from the previous three decades.

The average temperature of the last five years was between 1.1 deg C and 1.2 deg C higher than the pre-industrial level in the mid-18th century.

Global carbon dioxide concentrations have also continued to rise in recent years, said C3S.

"These are unquestionably alarming signs," said Dr Jean-Noel Thepaut, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts' director of Copernicus services. He said C3S' analysis is based on its dataset going back to 1979, as well as climate data dating back to the pre-industrial era to ascertain long-term climate trends.

Compared with the 1981-2010 average, the most pronounced warming was in Alaska and over other large parts of the Arctic.

Most land areas were warmer than average, especially eastern and southern Europe, southern Africa and Australia.

However, central and south-eastern Canada experienced below average annual temperatures, said C3S.

 

In Europe, all seasons were warmer than usual, with the summer and autumn being the fourth warmest on record.

Last month, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also found global temperatures last year to be 1.1 deg C above the pre-industrial average.

The extreme heat last year fuelled record-busting summer temperatures in Australia in January, while record heat baked large areas of Europe in July.

The northern Bahamas was hit by Hurricane Dorian in August and Japan suffered two powerful typhoons just weeks apart, in September and October, that triggered record flooding.

Wildfires also raged through parts of California, the Arctic and large areas of South America.

The WMO said that man-made emissions from burning fossil fuels, building infrastructure, growing crops and transporting goods are set to break the record for atmospheric carbon concentrations, locking in further warming.

The United Nations says global carbon emissions must fall 7.6 per cent annually to 2030 for there to be any chance of limiting global warming to, ideally, 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels. This is to prevent the worst impact on the climate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2020, with the headline '2019 was 2nd hottest year on record'. Print Edition | Subscribe