Jan 8, 2020

Hottest decade on record

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

2019 wasn't just the second-hottest year on record — the 2010s will go down as the hottest decade in human memory, per a new report.

Driving the news: The Copernicus Climate Change Service found "an unrelenting upward trend in temperatures as emissions of greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and change the climate," the N.Y. Times notes.

The big picture: "The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now the highest level in human history and probably has not been seen on this planet for 3 million years," WashPost notes.

  • 2019 "also brought troubling signs that natural systems [like permafrost and the Amazon] that serve to store huge quantities of carbon dioxide and methane ... may be faltering as temperatures increase."

By the numbers, per Copernicus:

  • "The five warmest years on record have all occurred in the last 5 years."
  • "Globally, the calendar year 2019 was 0.59°C warmer than the 1981–2010 average."
  • "2016 is the warmest calendar year on record, with a global temperature 0.63°C above that for 1981–2010.
  • "The third warmest calendar year, 2017, had a temperature 0.54°C above average."

What's next: November 2020 is shaping up to be a historic month on climate, Axios' Amy Harder reported.

  • The UN's annual conference will offer the most high-profile moment for the Paris deal since it was signed in 2015.
  • Trump is also likely to formally withdraw from Paris climate accords the day after the election.

Go deeper: Axios' special report on climate change

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The 2010s were officially the hottest decade on record

Residents defend a property from a bushfire at Hillsville near Taree, north of Sydney in Australia on Nov. 12. Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

It's official: Last year was the world's second hottest on record, and 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded.

Why it matters: The findings, published in two separate reports by NOAA and the British weather service the Met Office Wednesday, are in line with those of research group Berkeley Earth, revealed at the start of the year. It's yet more evidence of the long-term warming trend that stems from human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

Alaska experienced its hottest year on record in 2019

Photo: Vintagepix/Getty Images

Alaska endured its hottest year in recorded history in 2019, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

By the numbers: The state's average temperature sat at 32.2°F, which was 6.2°F hotter than the long-term average. Last year's temperatures topped 2016's previous record, which saw the statewide average at 31.9°F. For the first time on record, Anchorage recorded a 90°F day in July.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

Greta Thunberg warns Davos about climate risks

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg warned world leaders Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that time is running out to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

Why it matters: She cited a 2018 report from the International Panel on Climate Change that estimates that carbon emissions would need to be cut significantly in the years ahead to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) relative to preindustrial levels.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020