Brussels: Last seven years were the seven hottest years on record on record worldwide, according to the annual findings released by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
The findings showed that 2021 was the fifth warmest, followed closely by 2015 and 2018.
The annual average temperature was 0.3 degrees Celsius above the temperature of the 1991-2020 reference period, and 1.1-1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level of 1850-1900, the C3S data showed.
Europe experienced its warmest summer on record in 2021. It also marked a number of extreme weather events including a heatwave in the Mediterranean and deadly flooding in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and beyond. The other previous warmest summers in the continent were in 2010 and 2018.
Globally, the first five months of 2021 experienced relatively low temperatures compared to the recent very warm years. From June until October, however, monthly temperatures were consistently at least amongst the fourth warmest on record.
Temperatures of the last 30 years (1991-2020) were close to 0.9 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.
Regions with the most above-average temperatures include from the west coast of the US and Canada to northeastern Canada and Greenland, as well as large parts of central and northern Africa and the Middle East.
The most below-average temperatures were found in western and easternmost Siberia, Alaska, over the central and eastern Pacific – concurrent with La Nina conditions at the beginning and the end of the year – as well as in most of Australia and in parts of Antarctica.
“2021 was yet another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, not to mention the unprecedented high temperatures in North America. The last seven years have been the seven hottest years on record,” Carlo Buontempo, Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, said in a statement.
“These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, take decisive and effective steps toward a sustainable society and work towards reducing net carbon emissions,” Buontempo added.
Further, the C3S also reported that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise during 2021, with carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reaching an annual global column-averaged record of approximately 414 ppm, and methane (CH4) an annual record of approximately 1,876 ppb.
Carbon emissions from wildfires worldwide amounted overall to 1850 megatonnes, especially fuelled by fires in Siberia. This was slightly higher than last year (1,750 megatonnes of carbon emissions), although the trend since 2003 is declining, the data showed.
“Carbon dioxide and methane concentrations are continuing to increase year on year and without signs of slowing down. These greenhouse gases are the main drivers of climate change. Only with determined efforts backed up by observational evidence can we make a real difference in our fight against the climate catastrophe,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, Director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.