Another year on account of the climate crisis: 2021, the sixth warmest on record

The image shows global temperature anomalies on the planet’s surface in 2021. Higher than normal temperatures can be observed (in red) in regions such as the Arctic. Lower than normal temperatures are shown in blue. Photo: NASA.

The just ended 2021 has been the sixth warmest year globally since records began in 1880, marking the end of the pre-industrial era.

According to a report by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, English), 2021 is the most recent of several years of consecutive warming, sixth in the ranking in the historical record behind 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

In its digital portal, NASA specified that “together, the last eight years are the eight warmest since modern records began in 1880. These annual temperature data constitute the global temperature record, which indicates to scientists that the planet is warming. “

Continuing the long-term warming trend of the planet, global temperatures in 2021 were 0.85 ° C above the mean of NASA’s reference period (1951-1980), said scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies of the NASA in New York.

According to NASA’s temperature record, Earth in 2021 was about 1.1 ° C warmer than average at the end of the 19th century, the start of the industrial revolution.

A separate and independent analysis by NOAA also concluded that the global surface temperature in 2021 was the sixth highest since records began in 1880. NOAA scientists use much of the same raw temperature data in their analysis and have a reference period (1901-2000) and a methodology different from those of NASA.

During 2021, the Earth’s land and ocean surface temperatures were 0.85 ° C higher than the 20th century average, making 2021 the 45th consecutive year with temperatures above the average of the last century.

In the northern hemisphere, the average temperature was also the sixth highest on record, at 1.09 ° C higher than average.

If only the land areas of the Northern Hemisphere are taken into account, the 2021 temperature was the third highest, surpassed only by 2020 and 2016.

NASA also warned that the amount of heat stored in the upper ocean levels, which can contribute to sea level rise, reached a record high in 2021, beating the 2020 record.

The agency highlighted that the average temperature in December was 0.83 ° C above average, the fifth warmest December on record.

In South America it was the third hottest December. In Europe, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service of the European Union, the hottest summer was experienced, although with temperatures not much higher than those of the summers of 2010 and 2018.

“Science leaves no room for doubt. Climate change is the existential threat of our time, ”said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Eight of the 10 warmest years on our planet occurred in the last decade, an indisputable fact that underscores the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country, and of all humanity,” he added.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, global temperature rise must be kept to a maximum of 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, but the odds of further global warming in the next five years are increasinghave reiterated both the IPPC and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other organizations.

A WMO report on the state of the world’s climate warned in April 2021 that the global average temperature had already risen by 1.2 ° C, and a study by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) revealed in October that If greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments are not improved, the world is on track to reach 2.7 ° C this century.

Other reports by United Nations agencies showed that greenhouse gas concentrations reached record levels, and that the planet is on the way to dangerous overheating, with alarming repercussions for current and future generations.

(With information from NASA and agencies)

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