The European Union’s climate monitoring service said Tuesday that the past eight years have been the warmest on record even with the cooling effect of the La Nina weather pattern since 2020.
Average temperatures across 2022 — which saw a series of unprecedented natural disasters made more likely and deadlier by climate change — make it the fifth-warmest year since records began in the 19th century, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
Pakistan and northern India were hit by a two-month spring heatwave with temperatures persistently above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), followed by Pakistan floods that covered a third of the country, affecting 33 million people, and causing nearly $30 billion in damages. damages and economic losses.
France, Britain, Spain and Italy set new average temperatures for 2022, Copernicus said in an annual report, with Europe as a whole experiencing its second-hottest year on record.
Heatwaves across the continent were exacerbated by severe drought conditions.
European temperatures have increased by more than twice the global average over the past 30 years, with the region showing the highest rate of increase of any continent in the world.
“2022 marked another year of climate extremes across Europe and the world,” said Samantha Burgess, vice president of the Climate Change Service at Copernicus, in a statement.
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“These events highlight that we are already witnessing the devastating consequences of our warming world.”
Large swathes of the Middle East, China, Central Asia and North Africa also experienced unprecedented average temperatures across the whole of 2022.
China and Western Europe have reported negative impacts on agriculture, river transport and weather-related energy management.
– No sign of slowing down –
Earth’s polar regions experienced record temperatures last year, too.
The remote Vostok station deep in the interior of East Antarctica has reached a relatively mild temperature of minus 17.7 degrees Celsius (0.14 degrees Fahrenheit), the warmest on record in its 65-year history.
Antarctic sea ice reached its lowest point in 44 years of satellite record in February, during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
At the other end of the globe, Greenland experienced above-average September temperatures of 8°C, accelerating ice sheet loss that has become a major contributor to sea level rise.
The hottest years on record globally so far—in descending order—are 2016, 2020, 2019, and 2017, according to Copernicus.
Atmospheric concentrations of the two main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) – have continued to rise over decades to record levels.
Carbon dioxide levels have risen to 417 parts per million – the highest level in more than two million years. Methane has risen at 1,894 parts per billion to levels not seen in 800,000 years.
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“Concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise without any sign of slowing,” said Vincent-Henri Pioche, director of the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service.
A world barely more than 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels has been hit by heatwaves, droughts, and record-breaking temperatures, and is heading for about 2.8°C above that benchmark.
The Paris Agreement, agreed to by nearly every country in the world in 2015, calls for a limit to global warming of 1.5°C, which scientists say will limit climate impacts to manageable levels.
But carbon dioxide and methane emissions from fossil fuel production and use – the main drivers of warming – have continued to rise, even as decarbonization of the global economy has accelerated.
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