Floods, storms and searing heat: 2020 in extreme weather

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While Covid has dominated the news, the world has also felt the effects of human-driven global heating

This year has broken a series of unwelcome weather records. Last month was the warmest November in history. This followed the hottest January, May and September. All-time temperature peaks were registered from the Antarctic to the Arctic. Since the start of the year, Australia, Siberia and California have suffered record fires. The Atlantic has generated record storms. Ice in the Laptev Sea has started forming later than ever.

The coronavirus pandemic may have dominated the news and temporarily reduced emissions. But 2020 has also demonstrated the increasingly evident impact of human-driven global heating. The six hottest years in human history have all occurred since 2014. That sequence will certainly continue for a seventh year. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will soon know whether 2020 will take first, second or third place in the all-time ranking.

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