NASA released a new analysis today that concludes that 2020 tied for the warmest year on record with 2016, continuing our planet’s trend of slowly but surely getting warmer over the past seven years.
GISS Director Gavin Schmidt said, “The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend. Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important – the important things are long-term trends.”
According to NASA’s data, global temperatures have risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, a rather alarming statistic and undoubtedly due to humanity’s actions. And while 2 degrees may seem like a subtle difference, that slight increase in global temperature has been enough to melt sea ice, cause sea levels to rise, and many more dangerous problems to arise.
Another independent analysis performed by the NOAA concluded that 2020 was actually the second hottest year on record and that 2016 was still the warmest. The likely cause of this discrepancy between NASA and the NOAA is that the NOAA doesn’t infer temperatures in polar regions lacking observations.
Regardless of which is correct, the trend is what matters most here. It is yet more evidence that humanity is going down a dangerous path that some scientists argue is already irreversible. If we don’t begin making significant changes now, the effects of climate change will only worsen.