Top Photo: 2020 was one of the hottest years on record. Credits: NASA/Josh Stevens
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, reported last month that 2020 was the world’s second-hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880.
In the Northern Hemisphere, which includes the United States, we experienced our hottest year on record. According to NOAA, the temperature in 2020 surpassed the 20th century average by 2.3 degrees.
Additionally, NOAA reported record-high sea surface temperatures in parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Satellite observations showed that Arctic sea ice shrank as well, and the amount of sea ice in 2020 was tied with 2016 for the smallest amount on record.
NOAA and NASA reported slightly different numbers for last year, but both agencies agree that the planet’s seven warmest years on record have all been since 2014.
“The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming TREND,” Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist, said in a statement. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important—the important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”
In the same statement, NASA reported that rising temperatures are causing problems around the world “such as loss of sea ice and ice sheet mass, sea level rise, longer and more intense heat waves, and shifts in plant and animal habitats. Understanding such long-term climate trends is ESSENTIAL for the safety and quality of human life, allowing humans to adapt to the changing environment in ways such as planting different crops, managing our water resources and preparing for extreme weather events.”
President Biden has already indicated that climate change will be a high priority during his time in office. In the first few days of his presidency, he recommitted the United States to the Paris Agreement, which is an international treaty on climate change. President Biden also ordered federal agencies to start reviewing and reinstating a number of environmental regulations that were reduced or repealed under President Trump.
US Swears In New President and VP!
WASHINGTON, D.C.—As tough times continue and deep divisions between Americans PERSIST, our newly elected leaders took office Jan. 20, promising action and encouraging unity.
In front of the Capitol, Kamala Harris took her oath of office to become the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian-American vice president of the United States!
A short time later, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States after defeating President Donald Trump in a hotly contested November election.
Just two weeks before Inauguration Day, hundreds of rioters had stormed the Capitol in hopes of upending one of the final steps of the election process.
“So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries,” President Biden said in his inaugural address.
Looking at the large, daunting problems our country faces, the president seemed certain about what’s needed.
“Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now,” President Biden noted. “A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II.
“Millions of jobs have been lost,” he continued. “Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.
“To overcome these challenges—to restore the soul and to secure the future of America–requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. Unity,” the president said.