Saturday, January 29, 2022

The heat continues: Earth hits sixth warmest year on record

According to several newly released temperature measurements, Earth shrinks into the sixth warmest year on record in 2021.

And scientists say the exceptionally warm year is part of a long-term warming trend that is showing signs of accelerating.

Two US science agencies – NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – and a private measuring group released their calculations for last year’s global temperatures on Thursday, and all said it was not far behind ultra-hot 2016 and 2020. Is.

Six separate calculations found that 2021 was between the fifth and seventh warmest years since the 1800s. NASA said 2021 tied with 2018 for the sixth warmest, while NOAA itself ranked sixth last year, ahead of 2018.

Scientists say La Nia – the natural cooling of parts of the central Pacific that globally changes weather patterns and brings cooler deep-sea waters to the surface – lowered global temperatures, as did its flip side. El Nio extended them in 2016.

Still, he said 2021 was the hottest La Nia year on record and that the year did not represent a cooling of human-caused climate change, but provided the same warmth.

“So it’s not quite as prominent as being the hottest on record, but give it a few more years and we’ll see another of those,” said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at the Berkeley Earth Monitoring Group on the record, which will also be released in 2021. The place has been given. Sixth Warmest “It’s a long-term trend, and it’s an irrepressible upward march.”

“The long-term trend is very clear. And it’s because of us. And it won’t end until we stop increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” said Gavin Schmidt, lead climate scientist on NASA’s temperature team. “

The past eight years have been the eight warmest on record, NASA and NOAA data agree. Their data show that global temperatures, over an average 10-year period to overcome natural variability, are about 2 degrees (1.1 °C) warmer than they were 140 years ago.

Other 2021 measurements came from satellite measurements by the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the Copernicus Climate Change Service in Europe and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

About eight to 10 years ago, there was such a significant jump in temperature that scientists have started to see whether the temperature is increasing rapidly or not. Both Schmidt and Hausfather said that early signs point to the same but it is hard to know for sure.

“I think you can see the acceleration, but whether it’s statistically strong is not at all clear,” Schmidt said in an interview. “If you look at the last 10 years, how many of them are far above the trend line of the last 10 years? almost all of them.”

Last year the global average temperature was 58.5 degrees (14.7 Celsius), according to NOAA. In 1988, NASA’s then-chief climate scientist James Henson made headlines when he testified to Congress about global warming in a year that was the hottest on record at the time. Now, 1988 is the 28th warmest year on record at 57.7 °C (14.3 °C).

According to Berkeley Earth, last year was the warmest year on record with 1.8 billion people in 25 Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, including China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar and South Korea.

The deep ocean, where most of the heat is stored in the ocean, also set a warming record in 2021, according to a separate new study.

“Ocean warming, in addition to posing a threat to coral bleaching and marine life and fish populations we rely on globally for about 25% of our protein intake, is destabilizing Antarctic ice shelves and are posing a massive threat… if we don’t act, sea level rise,” he said. Study co-author Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University.

According to the calculations of NOAA or NASA, the last time Earth had a cooler than normal year was in 1976. This means that 69% of the people on the planet – more than 5 billion people under the age of 45 – have never experienced a year like this, based on UN data. ,

Cathy Dello, 39, a North Carolina state climatologist who was not part of the new reports but said they make sense, said, “I only live in a warmer world and I wish the younger generation had Don’t have to say that.. It shouldn’t have been like this.”


See more Associated Press climate coverage at


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content.

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