Energy & Environment

2020 on track to be Earth’s warmest year on record, NOAA says

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is projecting 2020 will be the hottest year on record, surpassing a record set in 2016. 

NOAA reported last week that the first quarter of 2020 is off to a near-record start as the second-warmest January through March period since instrument records began in 1880. 

The study reports a 75 percent chance that 2020 will surpass 2016 as the hottest year on record and a 99.9 percent chance 2020 will end up being a top 5-warmest year. However, in 2016 there was an unusually intense El Niño event, which results in unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific.  

“A lot of that has to do with the fact that the year 2016 became the warmest year on record largely because it was very, very warm in the first half of the year, and it was actually not nearly as impressively warm in the second half of the year,” Derek Arndt, the head of climate monitoring at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information told the Washington Post. 

“So the way this might play out is, by staying close to 2016 early on, it does look like a better than half probability that we will finish the year warmest on record,” he added.

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