Steinmetz Photos on Climate Change 1:33
(CNN) - A new report released Wednesday details how 2019 was another year of extremes for Earth's climate, adding to a litany of evidence exposing the grim reality of our warming world.
Last year saw devastating bushfires in Australia; large regions such as Europe, Japan, Pakistan and India experienced deadly heat waves; nearly 100 tropical cyclones wreaked havoc; glaciers and sea ice continued to melt at worrying levels; and drought and floods destroyed vital crops and infrastructure.
Among the key findings from the State of the Climate in 2019, published by the American Meteorological Society, is that 2019 was one of the warmest years on record, that greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are at their highest levels on record, and This decade is the hottest since records began in the mid-19th century.
"Each decade since 1980 has been successively warmer than the previous decade, the most recent (2010-1019) being around 0.2 ° C warmer than the previous (2000-2009)," the report says. "As the main driver of our changing climate, the abundance of many long-lived greenhouse gases continues to increase."They cover a glacier in Italy to prevent it from melting 0:37
The study also reported other key findings:
- The six warmest years on record have occurred in the past six years, since 2014.
- 2019 was among the three warmest years since records began in the mid-19th century. Only 2016, and for some data sets 2015, were warmer than 2019.
- Average sea surface temperatures in 2019 were the second highest on record, only surpassed in 2016.
- Sea levels rose to a new record for the eighth year in a row.
- Air surface temperatures in the Arctic were the second highest in 120 years of records, behind only 2016. In Antarctica, 2019 was the second warmest year for the continent since 1979.
- Glaciers continue to melt at a worrying rate for the 32nd year in a row.
The warming influence of major concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, was 45% higher than in 1990, the researchers found. Burning fossil fuels in our cars, airplanes, and factories releases pollution that traps heat in the air and warms our planet.
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Global concentrations of carbon dioxide, which account for most of the gases' heating power, rose during 2010 to a record 409.8 parts per million, the study found. That was "the highest in the modern 61-year measurement record, as well as the highest ever measured in ice core records dating back 80,000 years," the report said.
The State of the Climate in 2019 report has been released. Follow this thread for details. # StateOfClimate2019 @AmetSoc https://t.co/ZxYIZqEXsW pic.twitter.com/SIkGpZbo1r
- NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAANCEIclimate) August 12, 2020
The report was led by the Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and was based on contributions from more than 520 scientists from 60 countries. Meteorologists often describe the annual report as the "annual physical analysis of the climate system."
Robert Dunn, one of the lead editors of the UK Met Office report, said in a statement that, "The vision for 2019 is that climate indicators and observations show that the global climate continues to change rapidly."
“Several extreme events, such as forest fires, heat waves and droughts, have at least part of their root linked to the increase in global temperature. And of course the rise in global temperature is linked to another climate indicator: the continued rise in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, ”Dunn said.
Record heat, rising seas
July 2019 was the hottest month on record on Earth, according to the report.
More than a dozen countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean recorded record annual temperatures last year. It was so hot that Belgium and the Netherlands recorded temperatures of 40 ° C at the time.
Deadly and intense heat waves last year exacerbated India's water crisis, causing entire cities to run out of water, worsening drought conditions in Australia that led to months of destructive wildfires and burning cities across Europe. , which are not designed to cope with such temperatures.
Dunn said the beginning of this millennium has been warmer than any other period since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
“The global average temperature is perhaps the simplest climate indicator to see the changes that are occurring in our climate. 2019 was one of the three warmest years on record dating back to 1850. It also marks the end of a decade in which the average global temperature had increased by 0.2 ° C compared to the previous decade, "he said.
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Rising ocean temperatures have continued to reduce sea ice to alarming levels. The extent and magnitude of ice loss on the Greenland ice sheet, the world's second-largest, rivaled last year 2012, the previous year of record ice loss.
Scientists found that after months of record temperatures, the Greenland ice sheet lost 197 billion tons of ice, the equivalent of around 80 million Olympic swimming pools in July 2019 alone.
The melting of glaciers and ice sheets, together with the warming of the oceans, explains the trend of rising global sea levels, according to the report.
In 2019, sea level rose for the eighth year in a row and reached a record for the 27 years since satellite recordings began, having risen about 87.6 millimeters at that time above the 1993 average.
The report comes as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which is overwhelming many healthcare systems and destroying economies around the world.
Scientists have repeatedly warned that the impacts of the climate crisis on our health systems and economies will be much more severe if left unchecked. Experts say the pandemic holds valuable lessons on how to prepare for future crises, such as acting early to mitigate climate impacts, reduce emissions, develop green technology, and implement effective climate policies.