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World Meteorological Organization, State of the global climate 2020

Bibliographic details: 

World Meteorological Organization, 2021. State of the global climate 2020 (WMO-No. 1264). .


This report demonstrates the impact of this warming, both on the planet’s ecosystems and on individuals and communities, through superstorms, flooding, heatwaves, droughts and wildfires. It highlights the following:

  • Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases, CO2, CH4, and N2O, continued to increase despite the temporary reduction in emissions in 2020 related to measures taken in response to COVID-19
  • 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. The past six years, including 2020, have been the six warmest years on record. Temperatures reached 38.0 °C at Verkhoyansk, Russian Federation on 20 June, the highest recorded temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.
  • The trend in sea-level rise is accelerating. In addition, ocean heat storage and acidification are increasing, diminishing the ocean’s capacity to moderate climate change.
  • The Arctic minimum sea-ice extent in September 2020 was the second lowest on record. The sea-ice retreat in the Laptev Sea was the earliest observed in the satellite era.
  • The Antarctic mass loss trend accelerated around 2005, and currently, Antarctica loses approximately 175 to 225 Gt of ice per year.
  • The 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season was exceptionally active. Hurricanes, extreme heatwaves, severe droughts and wildfires led to tens of billions of US dollars in economic losses and many deaths.
  • Some 9.8 million displacements, largely due to hydrometeorological hazards and disasters, were recorded during the first half of 2020.
  • Disruptions to the agriculture sector by COVID-19 exacerbated weather impacts along the entire food supply chain, elevating levels of food insecurity.