The planet experienced one of its hottest years on record in 2022, as ocean temperatures rise and sea ice cover in Antarctica approaches record levels, two federal science agencies announced on Thursday.
Last year was the fifth-warmest in recorded history, with global average surface temperatures 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (about 0.8 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average, according to the latest annual analysis by NASA. A separate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that Earth is experiencing its sixth warmest year on record.
While the two agencies differed slightly in their rankings, both analyzes painted the same broad and grim picture of continued warming amid Earth’s changing climate.
“The difference between fifth and sixth in our ranking is on the order of one hundredth of a degree Celsius. “This is not a solid change,” Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in a news briefing Thursday. “We try not to do certain rankings too much. What matters is long-term trends and they are more consistent than a single record. [to the next]”
Both reports show that the last nine years have been the warmest since records were kept in 1880.
Scientists agree that the world has warmed by about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s. The landmark 2015 Paris Agreement aimed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent the most disastrous consequences of climate change.
Current trends suggest that the world may be running out of time.
“We’re getting a little closer to that,” said Russell Vose, chief of climate monitoring at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, about the 1.5-degree threshold.
In any given year, average global temperatures are likely to jump more than the 1.5-degree threshold in that decade, but the more worrying trend comes when that level of warming continues for decades.
A major report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that global warming could exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius around 2040.
The consequences of such warming are already being felt around the world, from the devastating floods in Pakistan last year to the record-breaking heatwaves in Europe and Asia to the ongoing drought around the world. Studies have shown that global warming will intensify many such extreme weather events.
NOAA’s analysis has also raised alarm about the health of the world’s oceans.
Ocean heat content, a measure of the amount of heat stored in the upper ocean levels, hit a record last year, surpassing the record set in 2021. -leveling up and extreme weather.
Temperatures in 2022 also continued to affect the sea ice cover at the Earth’s poles. Antarctica’s average annual sea ice coverage has dropped to 4.1 million square miles, approaching the record low set in 1987. Meanwhile, the Arctic recorded average annual sea ice coverage at 4.1 million miles, the 11th smallest distance on record, according to NOAA.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson described the findings of both reports as a “call to action.”
“Our warming climate is already leaving its mark: Forest fires are intensifying; hurricanes are getting stronger; “Drought is wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising,” Nelson said in a statement.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com.