One Hot Year after Another

Globally, 2020 was the hottest year on record, effectively tying 2016, the previous record. Overall, Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s.Temperatures are increasing due to human activities, specifically emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane. Heat and the energy it carries are what drive our planet: winds, weather, droughts, floods, and more are expressions of heat. The right amount of heat is even one of the things that makes life on Earth possible. But too much heat is changing the way our planet’s systems act. My World’s on FireHigher temperatures drive longer, more intense fire seasons. As rain and snowfall patterns change, some regions are getting drier and more vulnerable to damage, setting the stage for more fires.2020 saw several record-breaking fires, both in Australia in the beginning of the year, and in the western U.S. through northern summer and fall. Smoke from fires in both regions reached so high into the atmosphere that it formed clouds and continues to travel around the globe today. In the Siberian Arctic, unusually high temperatures helped drive at least 19 fires in the region. More than half of them were burning peat soil – decomposed organic materials – that stores a lot of carbon. Peat fires release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially leading to even more warming.The Water’s Getting WarmIt wasn’t just fire seasons setting records. 2020 had more named tropical storms in the Atlantic and more storms making landfall in the U.S. than any hurricane season on record.Hurricanes rely on warm ocean water as fuel, and this year, the Atlantic provided. 30 named storms weren’t the only things that made this year’s hurricane season notable. Storms like Eta, Delta, and Iota quickly changed from smaller, weaker tropical storms into more destructive hurricanes. This rapid intensification is complicated, but it’s likely that warmer, more humid weather – a result of climate change – helps drive it. The Ice Is Getting ThinAdd enough heat, and even the biggest chunk of ice will melt. That’s true whether we’re talking about the ice cubes in your glass or the vast sheets of ice at our planet’s poles. Right now, the Arctic region is warming about three times faster than the rest of our planet, which has some major effects both locally and globally. This year, Arctic sea ice hit a near-record low. Sea ice is actually made of frozen ocean water, and it grows and thaws with the seasons, typically reaching an annual minimum extent in September. Warmer ocean water led to more ice melting this year, and 2020’s annual minimum extent continued a long trend of shrinking Arctic sea ice extent. A Long TrendWe study Earth and how it’s changing from the ground, the sky, and space. Using data from sensors all around the planet, we calculate the global average temperature, working with our partners at NOAA.Many other organizations also track global temperature using their own instruments and methods, and they all match remarkably well. The last seven years were the hottest seven years on record. Earth is getting warmer. We also study the effects of increasing temperatures, like the melting sea ice and longer fire seasons mentioned above. Additionally, we can study the cause of climate change from space, with a bird’s eye view of increasing carbon in the atmosphere. The planet is changing because of human activities. We’re working together with other agencies to monitor changes and understand what this means for people in the future. Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

One Hot Year after Another

Globally, 2020 was the hottest year on record, effectively tying 2016, the previous record. Overall, Earth’s average temperature has risen more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s.

image

Temperatures are increasing due to human activities, specifically emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane. 

Heat and the energy it carries are what drive our planet: winds, weather, droughts, floods, and more are expressions of heat. The right amount of heat is even one of the things that makes life on Earth possible. But too much heat is changing the way our planet’s systems act.

My World’s on Fire

Higher temperatures drive longer, more intense fire seasons. As rain and snowfall patterns change, some regions are getting drier and more vulnerable to damage, setting the stage for more fires.

image

2020 saw several record-breaking fires, both in Australia in the beginning of the year, and in the western U.S. through northern summer and fall. Smoke from fires in both regions reached so high into the atmosphere that it formed clouds and continues to travel around the globe today.

image

In the Siberian Arctic, unusually high temperatures helped drive at least 19 fires in the region. More than half of them were burning peat soil – decomposed organic materials – that stores a lot of carbon. Peat fires release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, potentially leading to even more warming.

image

The Water’s Getting Warm

It wasn’t just fire seasons setting records. 2020 had more named tropical storms in the Atlantic and more storms making landfall in the U.S. than any hurricane season on record.

image

Hurricanes rely on warm ocean water as fuel, and this year, the Atlantic provided. 30 named storms weren’t the only things that made this year’s hurricane season notable.

image

Storms like Eta, Delta, and Iota quickly changed from smaller, weaker tropical storms into more destructive hurricanes. This rapid intensification is complicated, but it’s likely that warmer, more humid weather – a result of climate change – helps drive it.

image

The Ice Is Getting Thin

Add enough heat, and even the biggest chunk of ice will melt. That’s true whether we’re talking about the ice cubes in your glass or the vast sheets of ice at our planet’s poles. Right now, the Arctic region is warming about three times faster than the rest of our planet, which has some major effects both locally and globally.

image

This year, Arctic sea ice hit a near-record low. Sea ice is actually made of frozen ocean water, and it grows and thaws with the seasons, typically reaching an annual minimum extent in September.

image

Warmer ocean water led to more ice melting this year, and 2020’s annual minimum extent continued a long trend of shrinking Arctic sea ice extent.

A Long Trend

We study Earth and how it’s changing from the ground, the sky, and space. Using data from sensors all around the planet, we calculate the global average temperature, working with our partners at NOAA.

Many other organizations also track global temperature using their own instruments and methods, and they all match remarkably well. The last seven years were the hottest seven years on record. Earth is getting warmer.

image

We also study the effects of increasing temperatures, like the melting sea ice and longer fire seasons mentioned above. Additionally, we can study the cause of climate change from space, with a bird’s eye view of increasing carbon in the atmosphere.

image

The planet is changing because of human activities. We’re working together with other agencies to monitor changes and understand what this means for people in the future.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

Source : NASA More