Climate change has not stopped due to COVID-19. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are at a record high and continue rising. The present-day global average temperature is already about 1.1℃ above pre-industrial levels. In this warming world, extreme weather events, such as extreme heat and extreme rainfall, have become more frequent. In 2020, the Northern Hemisphere – including Hong Kong – had its hottest summer (June-August) on record. The five hottest summers for the Northern Hemisphere have occurred since 2015. The global average temperature in September 2020 was the highest since records began in 1880.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States predicts that the global average temperature in 2020 is very likely to be among the top three. In addition, minimum Arctic sea ice extent in 2020 was the second lowest in the record. Some scientists infer from past data that Arctic summer sea ice may disappear completely by 2035!
Arctic sea ice has been declining over the past 40 years