Earth facing ominous new heat record

·2-min read

Just how warm Earth stays this December will determine if 2020 goes down as the hottest year on record. And it’s looking a lot like it will.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculated Monday that last month globally was the second hottest November on record, behind only 2015. Yet NASA and a European climate monitoring group said it was the hottest November on record.

NASA has coverage over the poles that NOAA does not — and both the Arctic and Antarctic were very warm in November, NOAA climate scientist Ahira Sanchez-Lugo said to explain the difference.

Bondi beach crowded with people
Bondi beach got a little crowded as Australia recorded its warmest Spring on record, according to NASA. Source: Getty

Earth’s temperature in November was 13.87 degrees Celsius, which was 0.97 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average, according to NOAA. Nearly 7 per cent of the world had record-warm November temperatures, including Australia and Norway.

Australia’s warmest Spring ever

NASA reported Australia experienced its warmest Spring on record, hitting a temperature of 24.53C which was 2.03C above the long-term average.

The season began with record warm daily maximum and minimum temperatures in early September and finished with an intense heat wave toward the end of November.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) also declared November 2020 the warmest November on record.

NOAA’s calculations show that the first 11 months of 2020 were 0.01C cooler than record-hot 2016, but there’s a 55 per cent chance that 2020 will end up the warmest on record.

If December is as much above normal as November was, then 2020 will at least tie 2016 as the warmest on record, Ms Sanchez-Lugo said. Florida, Virginia and Maryland so far have had their hottest year on record, while California had its hottest fall.

For its part, NASA said 2020 so far is the warmest on record and it's likely to stay that way.

Using NASA data, if December is just 0.33C above the 1980 to 2010 average, 2020 should be the hottest year on record.

November was much more above average than that, and December so far has been 0.64C above normal, said Zeke Hausfather, climate scientist with the Berkeley Earth climate-monitoring group.

NASA and NOAA records go back to 1880. Emissions from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas cause the planet to warm.

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