Although the coronavirus lockdown has temporarily cleared the skies, it has done nothing to cool the climate, which needs deeper, longer-term measures, the scientists say. Heat records have been broken from the Antarctic to Greenland since January, which has surprised many scientists because this is not an El Niño year, the phenomenon usually associated with high temperatures. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculates there is a 75% chance that 2020 will be the hottest year since measurements began.
The US agency said there was a 99.9% likelihood that 2020 will be one of the top five years for temperatures on record. A separate calculation by Gavin Schmidt, the director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, found a 60% chance this year will set a record. The Met Office is more cautious, estimating a 50% likelihood that 2020 will set a new record, though the UK institution says this year will extend the run of warm years since 2015, which is the hottest period on record.
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