2022 was one of the warmest years in recorded history, despite cooling La Niña conditions governing the tropical Pacific Ocean.
What’s worse, the concentration of warming greenhouse gases Earth’s atmosphere Climate change reached new highs last year, while polar regions continued to warm at a blistering pace, according to new data released by the world’s leading climate-monitoring agencies.
Earlier this week, NASA, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European environmental monitoring program Copernicus all released their own assessments Climate changeProgress through 2022 reveals unabated increase in average temperature worldwide.
Globally, 2022 was the fifth warmest year on record, according to nasa (opens in new tab) And Copernicus (opens in new tab), ,NOAA (opens in new tab) The just-concluded year ranked sixth by a slight margin.) But some parts of the world — including Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, China and northwestern Africa — recorded their 12 warmest days in history. Enter the month.
Connected: 10 devastating signs of climate change can be seen from satellite space
9 of the 10 warmest years in history have occurred in the last decade
All of the warmest years on record have come since 2010, with the last nine years being the warmest “since modern record-keeping began in 1880,” NASA said in the statement.
“When you look at nine of the last 10 years, they’ve been the warmest years in the modern record since 1880,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said at a joint NASA/NOAA news conference on Thursday (Jan. 12). it’s very dangerous.” ), when new data was released. “If we don’t take this seriously and take some real action to reduce [the trend]There are going to be devastating effects around the world.”
In 2022, the planet is on average 2 °F (1.1 °C) warmer than in the late 19th century, only 0.7 °F (0.4 °C) short of the limit set by the global climate science community to prevent severe and unpredictable environmental consequences. Avoid for According to Europe’s Copernicus schedule, 2022 was also 0.54 °F (0.3 °C) warmer than the already warm average for the period from 1991 to 2020.
“It’s definitely been warmer than it’s probably been during at least the last 2,000 years,” NOAA physicist Russell Vos said at the news conference. “And the rate of [temperature] Growth in the past 50 years has been faster than at any other time in the past two millennia.”
Record despite cooling of La Nina
Equal to 2015, 2022 scored among the top 10 warmest years on record, despite the fact that the so-called La Nina effect moderates the tropical Pacific Ocean. During La Niña years, surface water temperatures in the eastern parts of the central Pacific drop, resulting in wetter and cooler weather over large parts of the globe.
In contrast, 2015, which was as warm as 2022, was an El Niño year, with warm tropical Pacific surface water temperatures and overall dry and warm weather conditions around the world, according to newly released data.
“NASA scientists estimate that the cooling effect of La Nina may have caused global temperatures to be slightly lower (about 0.11 degrees F or 0.06 degrees Celsius) than they would have been under more normal ocean conditions,” NASA said in the statement.
Weak poles heating up at breakneck speed
The globe is not warming uniformly. In fact, some of the most vulnerable regions have already passed the 2.7°F (1.5°C) threshold. According to Copernicus, the fragile polar regions are warming exceptionally fast, with temperatures in some areas of Antarctica and Siberia 3.6°F (2°C) above the 1991-2020 average. The heat exacerbated the annual sea ice loss, with the Antarctic region recording its second lowest sea ice extent last year. Only 1987 saw more widespread sea ice loss during the peak of the Antarctic summer.
Earlier NASA-supported research (opens in new tab) The Arctic, the floating ice cap covering Earth’s North Pole and areas around northern Europe and Asia, may be warming at a rate four times faster than the global average, researchers have found. And this trend is not expected to subside, pointing to a future of melting ice sheets and sea level rise.
Greenhouse gas concentrations at new high
Scientists are fairly certain that further record and near-record years lie ahead. Apart from making it to the top 10 for highest temperature, 2022 also saw an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, two major contributors to the ever-increasing warming. According to Copernicus, there hasn’t been this much carbon dioxide in the air in the last 2 million years, while available scientific evidence suggests methane concentrations are at their highest in 800,000 years.
“Preliminary analysis of satellite data averaged over the entire atmospheric column suggests that carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by approximately 2.1 ppm [parts per million]while methane increased by about 12 ppb [parts per billion]”This resulted in annual averages for 2022 of approximately 417 ppm for carbon dioxide and 1,894 ppb for methane,” Copernicus said in a statement.
Vos said the concentration of carbon dioxide, which mostly comes from the burning of fossil fuels, has increased by 50% since the pre-industrial era.
According to NOAA, the global ocean heat content was at an all-time high in 2022, meaning the total amount of energy stored in the upper 6,500 feet (2,000 m) of the globally connected ocean has never been greater. The increased amount of heat can exacerbate many of the negative effects of climate change, including sea level rise, further melting of the polar ice sheets, and degradation of marine ecosystems.
Vos said, “Barring a major volcanic eruption, there is a 100% chance that we will be in the top 10 again in future years.” “With El Niño potentially brewing, increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, we’re certainly going to be close to a record next year.”
Volcanic eruptions, which Voss sometimes refers to as temporarily lowering global temperatures, inject large amounts of sunlight-reflecting ash into the stratosphere, the layer of Earth’s atmosphere above the troposphere that contains most of the weather. Is. Some volcanic eruptions, such as last year’s Hungah Tonga eruption, on the other hand, may contribute to warming by injecting water vapor, which also traps heat in higher atmospheric altitudes.
hunga tonga The contribution to 2022 heat, however, was so small that it was impossible to measure, Gavin Schmidt, NASA climate scientist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the news conference.