Other parts of the world also experienced record-high temperatures, including Japan, Mexiko, and the Seychelles.
Parts of northwest Europe were relatively cooler in 2020, the report found, but the UK also reached its third-highest annual average temperature, na 2014 en 2006, according to the Met Office.
While the Covid-19 pandemic slowed economic activity around the world and led to a 6-7% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the report found the global concentration of greenhouse gases rose to a new high in 2020.
“This report adds to all the other evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting every part of the globe, but not all regions are experiencing the change at the same rate,” said Robert Dunn, an operational meteorologist at the Met Office and lead editor for the report’s chapter on global climate.
The report comes as much of the Northern Hemisphere has faced climate change-driven extreme weather this summer in the form of heatwaves and wildfires in Greece
, Italië, Turkey and France
, while Germany and Belgium experienced deadly floods in July
The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service warned this month that the Mediterranean region was evolving into a
” and warned that the fires already burning were emitting large amounts of smoke pollution into the atmosphere
The US and Canada have also fought persistent wildfires this summer
Liz Bentley, chief executive at the Royal Meteorological Society said the report on 2020 “captures reality” en was “more evidence that our climate is changing.”
“Two degrees may not feel very much to the average person on the streets — you might not notice a two degree difference if you stepped outside. But that small change in the average temperatures has a significant change in the frequency and intensity of some weather events, particularly heat events” like those happening in Europe as well as North America.
“These extreme heat events are happening much more frequently, when they happen, they are lasting longer,” Bentley said.
Michael Byrne, a lecturer in climate science at the University of St. Andrews, told the Science Media Center that while it was no surprise Europe experienced its hottest year, the pace of warming was “worrying.”
“The report highlights that even if we limit global warming to 1.5°C as set out in the Paris Agreement, temperature increases in many parts of the world — and particularly over land — will far exceed 1.5C,” Byrne wrote.
A major UN climate change report released earlier this month concluded global average temperature is already
1.2 degrees above pre-industrial levels
, and efforts should be made to prevent it from rising beyond
1.5 degrees to avoid worsening impacts
. The global scientists who authored that report also concluded humans were unequivocally causing the climate crisis
It also found that if the world can contain reach net zero — where the amount of greenhouse gas emissions is no greater than the amount removed — warming could be contained to 1.5°C.