Eleanor Hildebrandt | January 11, 2022
2021 was the Earth’s fifth hottest year according to European scientists, indicating global warming is here to stay.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said the average global temperatures over the year were 1.1 to 1.2 Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial era, according to Voice of America News. The scientists used satellite measurements for 2021 temperatures. The hottest years on record remain 2020 and 2016. A consequence of higher temperatures according to the scientists is the air absorbing more moisture, leading to increased amounts of rainfall and flooding.
The past seven years are all within the top seven hottest years on record. 2021 beat our 2015 and 2018 to get the fifth place spot, according to the New York Times. Freja Vamborg, a senior climate scientist at Copernicus, said the last seven years are quite close together in warming trends and were well off from the temperatures of years prior.
Copernicus has been keeping temperature records since 1950, but can go back even further with additional analyses of historic documents. The team’s analysis also found the rate of increasing carbon dioxide levels appear to have been down in 2021, while methane concentrations have grown at their fastest pace in the last 20 years.
Major weather events, like the La Niña early on in 2021, helped lower the overall temperature of 2021, allowing it to secure a lower spot on Copernicus’s rankings.