With a new year and a new decade upon us, the speed of climate change and global warming is growing, with 2020 expected to be Ireland’s hottest year on record.
As the Australian wildfires rage on into 2020, we are no longer under any illusions that climate change is a threat and that its damaging effects are inexorably growing.
It is on the back of this reality that we are now aware that 2020 is set to be Ireland’s hottest year on record, and one of the hottest years in the world’s history.
British Met Office study
The British Meteorological Office (Met Office) estimates that 2020 is likely to follow the climate’s trend and be possibly the hottest year on record.
The forecast is based on observations of trends over recent years, and the Met Office predicts that global temperatures will be more than 1.1C above the pre-industrial average.
Recent years have witnessed the climate’s temperatures reach at least 1C above the pre-industrial average, and only an unforeseeable event such as a major volcanic eruption would break the trend.
The term ‘pre-industrial’ refers to the time before human beings were able to convert fossil fuels into energy, a process that releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.
The Industrial Revolution sped up the process of burning fossil fuels, and this led to a saturation of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions into the air, leading invariably to warming of the Earth.
Warmest years on record
2016 remains the world’s warmest year on record, and this was due to the ‘El Nino’ effect that the earth experienced, which is the weather system in the Pacific that can lead to unusually high temperatures.
The European Union (EU) noted last year that 2019 was the second warmest year on record, and that the closing decade (2010-2019) was the hottest in history.
While 2016 holds the record due to the El Nino effect, the average temperatures across 2019 were only a few-hundredths of a degree below 2016 levels.
More than 1.5C is considered dangerous
The confirmation that 2020 will follow the lead of years gone by is a major blow to climate change and global warming activists.
Leading scientists have warned that warming of more than 1.5C will have damaging effects on the world’s climate, while the United Nations (UN) warned in 2018 that we only have 12 years to save the planet from the catastrophic events of this continued warming.
If the current trends continue apace, we could see the Earth heating at 1.5C above the pre-industrial average within twenty years, a fact made more astonishing as 2015 was the first year in which temperatures were 1C above the average.
Ireland’s warmest winter
The news comes off the back of the announcement from Met Éireann that the 2018/19 winter was Ireland’s warmest since records began 119 years ago.
The months of December 2018 and January/February 2019 were 2.2 degrees above the seasonal average.
With the startling news glaring right at us, it is clear that the worst effects of climate change can affect us even here in Ireland and that we must act soon to prevent the deadly consequences.