Pena: April 2020 was Earth’s second hottest

IT WAS terribly hot last April. In fact, Metro Manila recorded its 2nd hottest temperature at 35.8 degrees Celsius on April 24, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa). If you factor in relative humidity, this is equivalent to a heat index of 39.0 degrees Celsius, which was how it was perceived by the human body.

Well the extreme heat is not just in the Philippines. It’s practically the whole planet. Globally, April 2020 is the third month in a row to rank second-hottest on record, according to scientists from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was also the second-warmest year to date (January through April), as Arctic sea ice continued its retreat.

The NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report says that the average global temperature in April was 1.91 degrees F (1.06 degrees C) above the 20th-century average, making April 2020 the second-hottest behind April 2016. The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service has the same observation. It measured April 2020 to be 1.3 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

The global temperature from January through April was 2.05 degrees F (1.14 degrees C) above average, which is the second-hottest January-through-April period on record behind 2016. Europe and Asia had their warmest year to date on record, while the Caribbean region and South America had their second warmest.

Ocean temperatures were also hot. The global ocean surface temperature during April 2020 was 1.49 degrees F (0.83 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average. It was the highest April ocean temperature since global records began in 1880. Arctic sea ice was down substantially. Sea ice coverage for April 2020 was 6.5% below the 1981–2010 average and the fourth-smallest April extent on record for the Arctic.

Global Warming is attributed to the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Main source for these gases is the burning of fossil fuel for vehicles, heating and power generation. Some greenhouse gases, like methane, are produced through agricultural practices, including livestock manure. With the lockdowns due to Covid-19 pandemic, the levels of greenhouse gas emissions dropped significantly.

The drop in greenhouse gases emission is expected to be temporary as countries begin to open up and restart their economies. In fact, Nitrogen Dioxide, an air pollutant, is observed by NASA to be on the rise in China.


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