The UN’s World Meteorological Organization found that 2021 was the seventh hottest year to date, at 1.11°C above pre-industrial levels
19 January 2022
By Adam Vaughan
The past seven years were the warmest on record as climate change continued apace, despite the cooling effect of the La Niña weather pattern in 2021, the United Nations has found.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) analysed the six main global temperature data sets, which revealed that last year was the seventh hottest to date, at 1.11°C above pre-industrial levels.
“The continued onslaught of record years, including the seven warmest having occurred since 2015, is precisely what we expect to see due to human-caused planetary warming,” says Michael MannPennsylvania State University
Governments at the COP26 Climate SummitNovember They have reaffirmed and reaffirmed the commitment to trying to hold temperature rises to 1.5°C and well below 2°C at worst. But emissions reductions pledges currently have the world on course for 2.4°C or more. 2021 is the seventh year in a row where temperatures have been more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels.
Although 2021 was only the seventh-warmest year globally, climate scientists were shocked by several temperature records that were broken by much larger margins in some places than usual. near-50°C record set in Lytton, Canada. Previous research showed this event would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change.
“Climate change impacts and weather-related hazards had life-changing and devastating impacts on communities on every single continent,” said Petteri TaalasStatement from the WMO
Although it is not a record for the surface air temperature, 2021 was another year of record breaking heat content at the ocean’s upper levels.These are capable of absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide emitted from humans, as well as the heat trapped by this gas.
The cooling effect of the La Niña weather pattern is expected to give way later this year to its opposite, El Niño, which was responsible for 2016 being the hottest year ever. The UK Met Office, which holds one of the six data sets examined by the WMO, forecasts that 2022 will be 1.09°C above pre-industrial levels.
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