Global temperature: how does 2020 compare so far?
The Earth’s average temperature has increased by about 1 degree C since pre-industrial times, which for the climate record is calculated as the period 1850-1900.
Figure shows values from GISTEMP, NOAAGlobalTemp and HadCRUT4 relative to the period 1850-1900.
Although this is an average, some regions are experiencing a much faster rate of warming. Nowhere is this more apparent than parts of the Arctic, where melting sea ice is creating areas where heat from the sun is absorbed by darker ocean water, rather than being reflected back into space by highly reflective sea ice. This process is a key contributor to Arctic amplification of the warming rate and is an expected consequence of climate change. However, this is only part of the story.
Parts of northern Eurasia have been experiencing extremely high temperatures this year. Monthly average temperatures were more than 10.0 C above average in some places, due to a combination of climate change and extreme climate variability.
The extra heat can be traced back to the record high Indian Ocean Dipole in late autumn 2019. This led to a strong winter jet stream leading to extreme late winter warmth over Eurasia and a supercharged stratospheric polar vortex leading to persistence into spring. Once the higher than normal temperatures were established reduced ice and snow only exacerbate the warmth.
This record-breaking heat in northern Eurasia has helped to propel monthly global temperatures and has fuelled media headlines about 2020 being on track to be the warmest year on record globally. But is that going to be the case?
Whilst there have been some record months, this year, overall 2020 is still not running at record temperature compared to 2016 – the warmest year for global average surface temperature. Prof Adam Scaife is the Head of Met Office Long Range Prediction. He said:“We are likely to have seen the most extreme global temperatures already this year as La Niña is now developing and the final value is likely to fall back into our forecast range of 0.99 to 1.23 C”. So while 2020 is running very high, there is no guarantee of a record this year.
Note: The global forecast for 2020 was produced in December 2019.
Latest News from
Creating a five-year window into future climate09/07/2020 15:15:15
Providing annually-updated five-year climate predictions at global and continental scales is the focus of a new international science collaboration co-ordinated by the WMO and led by the UK’s Met Office.
Innovative space weather monitoring projects receive UKRI funding07/07/2020 10:15:00
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced funding for five projects focused on improving the UK’s capability to predict and mitigate the hazards of space weather.
EUMETSAT selects Phil Evans as its new Director General03/07/2020 08:15:00
We are very pleased to share the news that former Met Office Operations Director, Phil Evans, has been appointed as the new Director General of EUMETSAT.
End of June statistics02/07/2020 14:38:00
While June 2020 overall was not a record-breaking month, it has been notable for many, with some heavy rainfall at times.
Chances of 40°C days in the UK increasing01/07/2020 13:15:00
owards the end of the century parts of the UK could see 40°C days every 3-4 years on average under a high emissions scenario.
Hot and sunny with thunderstorms this week25/06/2020 15:15:15
It’ll stay hot and sunny with the risk of thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, before fresher and cooler weather arrives through the weekend.
Met Office scientists receive prestigious Royal Meteorological Society Awards24/06/2020 15:15:15
Last month the Met Office Hadley Centre celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Hot spell on the way this week23/06/2020 12:15:00
It’ll turn hot for many through the week as temperatures reach 30 Celsius or more in places.