At the end of November, 2020 was looking like a sure bet to take the title as the warmest year on record.
But during December, the planet seems to have developed other plans.
This past month, unusually cool temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean intensified and fanned out west of South America. That’s the fingerprint of a strengthening La Niña.
Here’s how sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean departed from normal on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Climate Reanalyzer)
You can see that fingerprint in the map above, which depicts temperature anomalies at the sea surface on December 29th. Note all of that blue chill cutting across a large portion of the Pacific.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a cool shift also occurred in Eurasia.
Through November, much of the region suffered under extremely warm temperatures, spurring wildfires in Siberia and helping to drive Arctic sea ice