Environment & Climate ChangeNews

May 2020, The Hottest On Record – Climate Report

Globally, May was 0.63°C higher than the average May from 1981 to 2010, the warmest May on record. It was warmer by 0.05°C than May 2016, the previous warmest May according to Copernicus Climate Change Service new report.

The situation has implications for socio-economic activities, such as farming.

The European agency’s report added that the last 12-month period was close to 0.7°C warmer than average, matching the warmest 20-month period.

“Temperatures over Europe deviated quite substantially from the 1981-2010 average in May 2020. They ranged from well above average over the south-west and far north-east of the continent, to well below average over a substantial region extending from Scandinavia to the Balkans and the northern coast of the Black Sea.”

“ This was associated with a persistent north-westerly flow into central Europe, with higher than average pressure centred over the UK, and lower than average pressure to the north and east. The average temperature over England was not exceptional, but the country had its sunniest month and driest May on record. Brittany experienced its sunniest May and second sunniest month on record.

“Outside Europe, temperatures were most above average over parts of Siberia, where they were up to 10°C above average. They were also much above average over western Alaska, along the Andes bordering Chile and Argentina, and over regions in West and East Antarctica. It was also much warmer than average over western North America, the far north and south of South America, north-western, central and south-western Africa, and south-eastern Asia”.

Rising temperatures are associated with climate disasters, including melting ice in Antarctica, devastating wildfires, intense hurricanes and heatwaves.

Nasreen Al-amin, a climate justice advocate in Nigeria and founder of Surge Africa, said continuous rising temperature had adverse effects on Nigeria’s agriculture sector and any hope for land restoration practices.

It can lead to water shortages, especially in arid regions. This effect can reduce plant growth, and dry out landscapes, she explains.

“Heatwaves have economic implications on agriculture resulting from low productivity caused by heat stress, and psychological heat intolerance which could further affect farmers’ incomes and livelihood,” she said.

She added that “business owners have to deal with electricity shortages which compound the loss of productivity and reduces access to services.

“If this trend continues, we expect to record a decrease in the standard of living just like in India (for the same reason) unless good power infrastructure is put in place to support demands.”

The 2015 Paris Agreement long term temperature goal by world leaders was to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels; and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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