Shots of thirsty corn, in Ain.

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September 2020 was the hottest September on record in the world, according to the European climate change service Copernicus, which hints at the possibility that 2020 dethrones 2016 as the hottest year.

The twelve-month period from October 2019 to September 2020 is 1.28 ° C above pre-industrial temperatures.

While the past five years have been the hottest on record, this figure puts the planet dangerously close to the ceiling set by the Paris Agreement.

The pact, concluded in 2015 by nearly 200 states which have committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, aims to contain global warming below 1.5 ° C, or at worst 2 ° C, to limit the devastating impacts storms, droughts and other heat waves already at work.

But while the planet has already warmed by more than 1 ° C, it is still gaining an average of 0.2 ° C per decade since the end of the 1970s, insists Copernicus in its monthly climate report.

And 2020 is unlikely to reverse the trend, with the hottest months of January, May and June already.

“At the global level, September 2020 was 0.05 ° C above September 2019, so far the hottest on record,” indicates the European service.

That is 0.63 ° C above the average for the period 1981-2020.

Temperatures were particularly high in Siberia, continuing a heat wave that began in the spring that led to spectacular fires.

The heat was also greater than normal over the Arctic Ocean as a whole, says the service, which recalls that summer sea ice in the Arctic has melted this year to the second smallest area on record (after 2012).

North America also experienced a particularly hot September, with 49 ° C recorded earlier this month in Los Angeles County, in a California ravaged by fires.

Beyond the month of September alone, data from European satellites shows that the period from January to September 2020 is warmer than the same period in 2019 - the second warmest year.

And the comparative analysis of these same nine months for 2020 and 2016, the hottest year in the world, reveals "quite similar" anomalies, continues Copernicus.

Even so, climatic phenomena such as the on-going development of a La Niña episode, which tends to lower global temperatures, "will influence the likelihood that 2020 will become the hottest year."

“There are three months left during which anything can happen,” Copernicus scientist Freja Vamborg told Freja Vamborg, noting that the agency was not making “predictions for global temperatures”.

Copernicus's satellite database for observing temperatures dates back to 1979, but conventional data from Earth and other agencies don't show a warmer year until 1979, since the pre-industrial era.


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