For 2021, global average temperatures were 0.84 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average, making it the sixth warmest year since the first record of global temperatures in 1880. According to climatologists, the chances are very high (99%) for this 2022 to be ranked in the ten warmest years so far. Using the 21-year period from 1880 to 1900 as a benchmark to assess pre-industrial conditions, NOAA found that global land and ocean temperatures in 2021 were 1.04 degrees Celsius above average.
A separate global temperature analysis made and published by NASA ranks 2021 along with 2018 as the sixth hottest ever. The data from the two reports differ little in their assessment from those of the European Union’s Copernicus Office for Climate Change, which ranked 2021 as the fifth warmest ever since such measurements and records were first made in the mid-19th century. .
The overall convergence of trends supports the conclusions of scientists. The increase in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases since the beginning of the industrial revolution is mainly the result of human activity, which remains largely responsible for the observed increases. Climate scientists say that to avoid the worst effects, it is crucial to keep the warming at the end of the century up to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, we will face a range of consequences, from mega-storms to the mass extinction of coral reefs and the destruction of coastal communities.
But with the current rate of warming, the planet could reach a critical 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next decade. In recent years, the effects of climate change have been felt more and more – record wildfires of enormous proportions in Australia and Siberia, heat waves occurring once every 1000 years in North America, and extreme rains that have caused massive floods in Asia, Africa, USA and Europe. Nearly 700 people died in the United States last year due to extreme weather events such as Hurricane Ida, and a maximum temperature of 48.8 degrees Celsius was recorded in Sicily, a European record. By the way, on the day the NOAA report was presented, a temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius was recorded in the coastal city of Onslow in Western Australia, which is the warmest day in this country so far.
The thermal record set in 2021 came despite the year starting in a cold phase thanks to an episode of the southern El Niоo (ENSO) oscillation across the central and eastern tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean. The heating may have been partially offset by the continuation of heat-reflecting aerosol-producing activities. Namely, these emissions were drastically lower during the mass quarantine closures at the beginning of the coyote pandemic. The terrestrial surface temperature of the northern hemisphere was the third highest temperature in the records. The temperature on the surface of the southern hemisphere in 2021 was the ninth highest temperature ever.
Last year, heat records for the highest ground temperature were broken in parts of North Africa, South Asia and southern South America, while record high sea surface temperatures were recorded in parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. On the other hand, last year there were no records of cold weather both on land and in the ocean regions. The average annual snow cover in the northern hemisphere was 24.3 million square kilometers, which is the seventh smallest annual snow cover in the 1967-2021 census.
Meanwhile, with the exception of September and December, in each month of 2021 in the Arctic ice levels were in the top-10 lowest levels ever recorded in the same months. The Arctic is warming about three times faster than the global average, contributing to a further rise in the world’s seas and oceans and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane from the permafrost, an effect known as “Arctic amplification”.