If you thought that 2019 was a long, hot year, you were right. According to a new report released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service earlier this week, last year ranked as the second warmest on record, trailing 2016 by the slimmest of margins. And if that wasn’t already grim enough, the report also indicates that the past five years make up the top five warmest ever as well, reaffirming the continually mounting data that the Earth is indeed getting warmer on a global scale.
The Copernicus Climate Change Service is Europe’s leading research organization on the topic of global warming and the shifting climate conditions on our planet. The service has been collecting data for decades, providing a baseline for comparing temperature numbers over time. What it found for 2019 was that Europe had its hottest year ever, while Australia, Southern Africa, and the Arctic also suffered through increasingly warmer temperatures as well. This was enough to put 2019 in second place all-time on the dubious “hottest year” countdown, only missing out on beating 2016 for the number one spot by 0.04 degrees Celsius.
More sobering yet is the news that the planet as a whole is now 1.1-1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than it was prior to industrialization. Most climate researchers have indicated that a change of 1.5 degrees (2.7ºF) would most likely be a tipping point, from which there might be no return. If temperatures hit that mark, it could trigger a series of events—including melting polar ice caps, retreating glaciers, rising ocean levels, and increasing dramatic storms—that would put the Earth on course for an ecological and environmental disaster. Australia may already be approaching that mark, as its Bureau of Meteorology announced that in 2019 the average temperature rating already 1.52 degrees Celsius above what it had been in the past.
The Copernicus report goes on to add that efforts to lower the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere don’t seem to be working all that much. In 2019, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere rose to 2.3 parts per million. As we all know, carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the the so-called “greenhouse gases” which have played a role in rising temperatures. Despite large campaigns designed to lessen the amount of CO2 we expel into the atmosphere, that number doesn’t seem to be slowing down some.
I guess at this point, we have to start to ask ourselves if anyone is all that surprised by this news? This as been the trend for most of the past decade, with subsequent years continuing to get warmer. Whether or not anything can be done to reverse the trend remains to be seen, but at this point we should all be pretty concerned about the direction things are going. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It really doesn’t matter whether or not this is a naturally occurring phenomenon as some have suggested, or if humans are causing it. If we don’t address climate change soon, we may not be around to see thing shift back to “normal.”
And for those who are still denying climate change, what is it going to take to convince you that it is real and happening around us. By now, you have to really have blinders on not to accept the data that is continually coming our way.
Check out the full report here.