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Biodiversity & Environment

2019: Second Hottest Year

  • 17 Jan 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the year 2019 was the second-hottest year since records began in 1880.

  • It has also warned that heat is likely to lead to more extreme weather events like the Australian bushfires in 2020 and beyond.
  • Status in India
    • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared the 2010-19 decade to have been India’s hottest since records began in 1901, with the average temperature 0.36 degrees Celsius higher than the 30-year 1981-2010 average.
    • 2019 was India’s seventh hottest year on record.

Key Points

  • Hottest Decade
    • United States government agencies has said that the decade 2010 - 2019 was the hottest on record.
    • Trend: Since the 1960s, each decade has been significantly warmer than the previous one. This trend continued in the 2010s, and five of the hottest years ever were experienced in the second half of the decade.
    • Reason: The warming is caused to a large extent by the emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases emitted from the burning of fossil fuels.
    • Implication: This pace of warming means the world will almost certainly fail to meet the goals set to combat catastrophic climate change.
  • Hottest Years
    • The hottest year on record was in 2016 due to the warming impact of a strong El Nino event.
    • The global average surface temperatures in 2019 were nearly 1 degree Celsius higher than the average from the middle of last century, making 2019 the second hottest year.

  • Climate hotspots of 2019 include Australia, Alaska and southern Africa whereas Central Canada and the northern US were among the few places that experienced cooler-than-average conditions.
  • Case of Australia
    • In Australia, 2019 was the hottest year on record, with the average temperature 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than the mid-20th century average.
    • 2019 was also the driest (in terms of rainfall difference from average) ever.
    • Most of the country has been in the grip of a severe drought since 2017, and New South Wales (southeastern Australian state) is currently seeing its most devastating bushfire season in at least 20 years.

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