2019 was officially the second-hottest year in world history, following 2016 as the hottest. In general, this past decade, and the past five years specifically (2015-now) were the hottest ever recorded by man. The data comes from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an online climate change resource that, according to their website, provides “authoritative information about the past, present and future climate, as well as tools to enable climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies by policy makers and businesses.”
2016 overall was only 32 degrees fahrenheit (.04 degrees Celsius) warmer than 2019, and within the past five years the global average has reached about 35 degrees fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) more than what it averaged pre-industrial revolution. Scientists have claimed in the past that once the global average reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius more than what it was pre-industrialization, the planet will have reached a critical threshold for maintaining life on Earth. This means if the average increases by .3 degrees Celsius, we’re all in trouble.
The planetary destruction that scientists warned about if global temperatures rise are already occurring. A major increase in extreme wildfires, floods, and food shortages impacting millions are all current problems that we’ve been warned about for decades. Greenhouse gas emissions, plastic in our oceans, single-use plastic product distribution in general, and more are all worldwide problems that continue to plague our planet and raise our climate. The impact has been extremely devastating.
Currently over half a billion animals are thought to be dead as a result of the deadly bushfires engulfing Australia. These fires have been the worst of hundreds of other wildfires that the planet has endured this past year, the Amazon rainforest and California being other notable ones. Additionally, the planet has seen an increase in flooding and starvation, as predicted, in Venice, which is currently still recovering from massive flooding throughout the city, and Yemen, which has been in the midst of a major famine since 2016.
According to Copernicus’ report, Europe, Australia, and the Arctic were hit the hardest with above average temperatures in 2019, but the entirety of the planet also experienced increases in temperatures throughout the year.
Europe especially broke records this past summer. In June and July of 2019 Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all broke their summer heat records with average daily temperatures reaching 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported at the end of 2019 that the nation had never experienced a drier or hotter climate in a given year. The average temperatures reported to be 35 degrees (fahrenheit) warmer than their yearly average, and they saw the worst of it during December, which only worked to further fuel the already devastating bushfires that have been taking over the continent for the past month.
Finally, the report stated that both the Arctic and Alaska experienced the largest increase in temperature in 2019. This is a major red flag for scientists, as the Arctic itself is critical for regulating temperatures around the entire planet, meaning when the Arctic heats, so will the rest of the world, as the data is clearly showing.
Scientists claim that the biggest contributor to global warming is greenhouse gas emissions that get trapped within our atmosphere, deplete our ozone layer, and thus leave the Earth exposed to increased levels of UV radiation. Systematic change is the solution, and living a greener life individually can help, but for now we must wait and continue to raise awareness for the massive levels of devastation occurring across the globe.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.