xi's moments
Home | Europe

2022 among eight hottest years as Earth heats up

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-01-14 08:49

Children ski on a slope in Ruhpolding, Germany, on Wednesday. Sparse snowfall and unseasonably warm winter weather in Europe's central mountains are allowing grass to blanket hillsides across the region, causing headaches for ski slope operators and aficionados of Alpine white. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA — The past eight years were the hottest since records began, the United Nations confirmed on Thursday, despite the cooling influence of a drawn-out La Nina weather pattern.

Last year, as the world faced a cascade of unprecedented natural disasters made more likely and deadly by climate change, the average global temperature was about 1.15 C above preindustrial levels, the World Meteorological Organization said.

The United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA released similar 2022 global temperature figures on Thursday. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson described them as "alarming".

"Forest fires are intensifying, hurricanes are getting stronger, droughts are wreaking havoc, sea levels are rising," Nelson said.

"Extreme weather patterns threaten our well-being across this planet. And we need some bold action."

The WMO said the past eight years were "the warmest on record globally, fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat".

The hottest year on record was 2016, followed by 2019 and 2020, it found.

Last year marked the eighth consecutive year that annual global temperatures were at least one degree over preindustrial levels seen between 1850 and 1900.

The Paris Agreement, agreed by nearly all the world's nations in 2015, called for capping global warming at 1.5 C, which scientists said would limit climate impacts to manageable levels.

But the WMO warned on Thursday that "the likelihood of — temporarily — breaching the 1.5 C limit ... is increasing with time".

The UN agency highlighted that the warmest eight years on record had all been since 2015, despite consecutive La Nina events since 2020.

The weather phenomenon has a cooling effect on global temperatures.

Last year was therefore "just" the fifth or sixth hottest year ever recorded, the WMO said.

The situation last year was more extreme in some places.

The European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said in its annual report on Tuesday that the planet's polar regions experienced record temperatures last year, as did large swathes of the Middle East, China, Central Asia and Northern Africa.

Europe endured its second-hottest year ever as France, Britain, Spain and Italy set new average temperature records, and heat waves across the continent were compounded by severe drought conditions, it said.

For the planet as a whole, the WMO said the impact of La Nina, which is expected to end within months, would be "short-lived".

The weather pattern "will not reverse the long-term warming trend caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere", it said.

The WMO said the trend was clear.

"Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one," it said.

It stood at 1.09 C between 2011 and 2020, according to estimates by the UN's climate science advisory panel Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This indicates that long-term warming continues, with the world already approaching the lower limit of temperature increase the Paris Agreement seeks to avert, the WMO said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349