It's common knowledge that our planet is getting warmer, and quickly, too.  Today, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, or C3S, reported that 2020 was the warmest year on a global scale since records began in 1880, tied with 2016. Temperature data shows that global temperatures were 1.25C warmer than average. Of course, in the past year, we have experienced the consequences of climate change. During the 2019/2020 bushfire season in Australia, images of violently red skies, the smoke turning glaciers in New Zealand brown. Some estimate that over a billion animals died in the deadly fires. Similar events were experienced in the western states of the United States, where wildfires ravaged forests and homes in California, Washington, and Oregon, burning over 8.2 billion acres and killing 37.  

If deadly wildfires weren’t enough, 2020 also overtook 2005 for the year of the most named storms in the season. Storms only get named if they are deemed to cause a certain impact, and an increase in named hurricanes and tropical storms over the years show the growing severity of the climate change crisis. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, an American scientific agency, have suggested that climate change makes hurricanes stronger, with heavier rain, and, although less frequent, they are more likely to be deemed powerful and therefore more deadly. On November 9th, 2020, Theta set the Atlantic hurricane season record for the 29th named storm that year. It broke the record of 28, previously held by 2005, which was the most infamous year for hurricanes in modern history.  

Scientists from C3S believe that one of the main contributing factors for the rise in global temperature is the heating experienced in Siberia, Alaska, and the Arctic, where temperatures were 6C above average in some areas. This is the warmest it has been in 3 million years.  Scientists have explained that, if the current trend continues, Arctic sea ice in summer could completely disappear by 2040. Communities all over these regions and areas have been experiencing the effects of the warm year, as scientists in Siberia noticed that the sea ice did not freeze until October, the latest on record, and there has been a significant increase in reports of people falling through the sea ice.  

Scientists have warned that we will continue to experience the effects of the rising global temperatures, and that the damage will be irreversible if we do not improve our habits and the way we use resources. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for both us and the climate.