DENVER (AP) — Earth’s fever continued last year, not hitting a record high, but still among the five or six hottest on record, government agencies reported on Thursday.
But scientists from the US government said record-breaking warm years are expected soon, possibly due to “brutal” climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas in the next few years.
Despite La Nina, a cooling of the equatorial Pacific that slightly lowers global average temperatures, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculates the global average temperature for 2022 to be 58.55 degrees (14.76 degrees Celsius), ranking it the sixth warmest on record. taking. NOAA does not include the polar regions due to data concerns, but will soon.
Taking into account the Arctic and Antarctic, which are warming three to four times faster than the rest of the world, NOAA said it would be the fifth warmest country. NASA, which has long taken the North Pole into account in its global calculations, said 2022 essentially tied with 2015 as the fifth warmest. Four other scientific institutions or science groups around the world rank the year as the fifth or sixth warmest.
NOAA and NASA records go back to 1880.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that global temperature is “pretty alarming… What we’re seeing is our warming climate, warning us all. Forest fires are getting worse. Hurricanes are getting stronger. Drought is wreaking havoc. Sea levels are rising. Extreme weather conditions threaten our well-being on this planet.”
Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit group of independent scientists, said this was the fifth warmest year on record, noting that it was the warmest year on record for 28 countries, including China, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and New Zealand.
Another group, whose satellite-based calculations were cooler than other science teams, said the year was the seventh-warmest.
Last year was a little warmer than 2021, but overall the science teams say the biggest problem is that it’s one step above the high temperatures the world has been going through for the past eight years from 2015. NOAA and NASA said all eight years have been warmer than 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) in pre-industrial times. NASA said last year was 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-19th century.
“The last eight years have been clearly warmer than previous years,” said Russ Vose, NOAA branch chief of analysis.
An extra 2 degrees Fahrenheit in a human body is considered fever, but University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Renee McPherson, who was not part of any of the study teams, said global temperature is actually worse than planetary fever because it can be treated for fever to subside quickly.
“You can’t take a pill for that, so the fixes won’t be easy,” McPherson said. “It’s more of what you think of as a chronic disease like cancer.”
Just like a fire, “every tenth of a degree counts and everything breaks down and we see it,” said Bernadette Woods Placky, Chief of Meteorology at the Climate Center.
The odds of the world crossing the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold that it adopted in 2015 increases every year, the World Meteorological Organization said. The United Nations weather agency said it has averaged 1.14 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times over the past 10 years. Vose said the chances of reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius temporarily in the 2020s are 50-50.
Vose and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt said there are hints that warming is accelerating, but the data are not solid enough to be certain. But they said the overall warming trend is very solid.
“You’ve seen this relentless rise in temperature since the mid-1970s, and it’s totally solid for all the different methodologies,” Schmidt said.
La Nina, a natural process that changes weather around the world, is in its third year in a row. Schmidt calculated that last year La Nina lowered the overall temperature by a tenth of a degree (0.06 degrees Celsius), making last year the warmest year for La Nina on record.
“Today’s La Nina years are not yesterday’s La Nina years,” said North Carolina state climatologist Kathie Dello. “Historically, we could count on La Nina to turn off the global thermostat. Now, the heat-trapping gases keep the temperature high, giving us another 10 hottest years on record.”
With La Nina dissipating and a possible El Niño on the way — which contributes to warming — this year will likely be warmer than 2022, Schmidt said. And next year, watch out if there’s an El Niño, he said.
“This shows that 2024 will be the warmest year on record by a pretty large percentage,” Schmidt said in an interview with the Associated Press.
Scientists say about 90% of the heat retained by greenhouse gases travels 2,000 meters above the ocean, and figures released Wednesday suggest 2022 is another record year for ocean heat.
University of St. Thomas.
In the United States, global warming first made headlines when Schmidt’s predecessor, climate scientist James Hansen, testified in 1988 that warming was worsening. That year would be the hottest on record at the time.
Now, 1988 is the 28th hottest year on record.
The last year the Earth was colder than the 20th century average was 1976, according to NOAA.
But scientists say it’s not the average temperatures that really affect people. What hits and hurts people, they said, is how warming is making extreme weather events like heat waves, floods, droughts and storms worse or more often, or both.
“These trends should concern everyone,” said Natalie Mahowald, a Cornell University climate scientist who was not part of the study teams.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in 2022 these excesses “undermine health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure”. Vast areas of Pakistan were flooded with great economic and human losses. Record-breaking heatwaves were observed in China, Europe, North and South America. A prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe.”
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