Amid a La Niña climate event, 2022 still managed to rank among the hottest years on record, according to analyses by NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NASA’s data places last year smack bang in the middle of the last nine years’ record temperatures.
And from these numbers cascade a range of weather events, with earth scientists pointing to record carbon emissions as further accelerating the greenhouse effect which traps heat and raises temperatures on the surface.
Most heat is captured by the oceans. Last week, international research indicated 2022 was another record year in global ocean heat content records since 1955, including for the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Southern Ocean.
“The reason for the warming trend is that human activities continue to pump enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and the long-term planetary impacts will also continue,” said Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies which leads the agency’s climate modelling.
Estimates suggest the world’s average temperature has increased by 1.3°C. Late in 2022, scientists estimated the global carbon budget to limit warming to the Paris Climate agreement’s preferred 1.5°C threshold would be exceeded in the next 15 years.
NASA found the strongest warming trends are still experienced at the top of the planet. The Arctic currently experience warming of around four times the global average.
It also connected the warming trend because of greenhouse gas emissions to major events witnessed across the world in 2022, including unprecedented monsoon rains which flooded a third of Pakistan’s land area, displacing 33 million people, and record-breaking heatwaves and drought in Europe and the US.
Australia experienced record rainfall in Sydney amid an uncommon ‘triple dip’ La Niña (three consecutive years) which brought widespread flooding of eastern Australia.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement for 2022 next month will detailthe nation’s rainfall, temperature and long-term climate trends. In January, the Bureau confirmed Australia’s average temperature was half a degree warmer than the 1961-1990 average and the 22nd warmest year for the continent since records began.
Warmest years on record since 1880
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Matthew Agius is a science writer for Cosmos Magazine.
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