The Earth recorded its hottest May ever last month, with scientists at the Copernicus Climate Change Service saying it shows that global warming remains unmitigated as 2020 is set to be among the 10 hottest years ever, CNBC reports.
According to the broadcaster, Freja Vamborg, a scientist at Copernicus Climate Change Service, an intergovernmental agency that supports European climate policy, “the last month has been the warmest May on record globally and this is unquestionably an alarming sign.
“Even more concerning is the fact that average temperatures of the last 12 months have become one of the hottest 12-month periods ever recorded in our data set,” she said.
There is a higher than 98 per cent likelihood that this year will rank in the top five hottest years in recorded history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the report reads.
In the report released on Friday, Copernicus Climate Change Service disclosed that globally, May was 0.63 degrees Celsius warmer than the average May from 1981-2010, the warmest May in the data record. The last twelve-month period, from June 2019 to May 2020, was close to 0.7 degrees Celsius warmer than average, matching the warmest twelve-month period.
The most above-average temperatures were recorded over parts of Siberia, where temperatures were up to 10 degrees Celsius above average, as well as Alaska and Antarctica, according to the new research, said the report.
Although May was colder than average for Europe, spring was 0.7°C above average and Sea ice was below average in the Arctic and Antarctic. Spring saw drier-than-average conditions over large parts of Europe, with the notable exception of the Iberian Peninsula.
Also, the UK, northern France, and Benelux were much drier than average.
The Greenhouse effect
According to the report, the continuous upward trend in global temperatures results from greenhouse gas emissions that change the climate.
It said 2019 was the second-hottest year ever, capping off the world’s hottest decade in recorded history. And six of the warmest years on record were during the past decade.
The rising temperatures are accompanied by countless climate disasters, including rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating wildfires from Australia to California, and more intense and frequent hurricanes and heatwaves.
However, the report noted that human-caused global warming shows no signs of decline. Nations in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change vowed to cap emissions to curb global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, but they are nowhere near on track to meet that goal.
The Paris Agreement is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate change agreement, adopted at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015.
The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impact of climate change and support them in their efforts.
196 countries including Nigeria are signatory to the Paris Agreement with a commitment to reducing carbon emissions significantly to the pre-industrial level.
Africa the most hit continent
United Nations climate report said the countries in the horn of Africa were particularly affected in 2019, where the population suffered from climate extremes, displacement, conflict and violence. The region suffered droughts, then unusually heavy rains towards the end of the year, which was a factor in the worst locust outbreak in the past 25 years.
Worldwide, some 6.7 million people were displaced from their homes due to natural hazards, in particular, storms and floods, such as many devastating cyclones, and flooding in Iran, the Philippines and Ethiopia. The report forecasts an internal displacement figure of about 22 million people throughout the whole of 2019, up from 17.2 in 2018.
Greenhouse gases are those gases in the atmosphere that have an influence on the earth’s energy balance. They cause the so-called greenhouse effect. The best-known greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide which can be found naturally in low concentrations in the atmosphere.