Although average global temperatures were temporarily cooled by the 2020-2022 La Niña events, 2021 was still one of the seven warmest years on record, according to six leading international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Last year joined the list of the
seven warmest years on record and was also the seventh consecutive year when
the global temperature has been more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels;
edging closer to the limit laid out under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate
The Paris Agreement calls for all
countries to strive towards a limit of 1.5°C of global warming through
concerted climate action and realistic Nationally Determined Contributions –
the individual country plans that need to become a reality to slow down the
rate of heating. But the average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 (±
0.13) °C above the pre-industrial era levels.
Although average global
temperatures were temporarily cooled by the 2020-2022 La Niña events, 2021 was
still one of the seven warmest years on record, according to six leading
international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Global warming and other
long-term climate change trends are expected to continue as a result of record
levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the agency said. Since
the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, said WMO and
“this is expected to continue.”
The warmest seven years have all
been since 2015; the top three being 2016, 2019 and 2020. An exceptionally
strong El Niño event occurred in 2016, which contributed to record global
“Back-to-back La Niña events mean
that 2021 warming was relatively less pronounced compared to recent years. Even
so, 2021 was still warmer than previous years influenced by La Niña”, said WMO
Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“The year 2021 will be remembered
for a record-shattering temperature of nearly 50°C in Canada, comparable to the
values reported in the hot Saharan Desert of Algeria, exceptional rainfall, and
deadly flooding in Asia and Europe as well as drought in parts of Africa and
South America”, the WMO chief added.
He added that Climate Change impacts and
weather-related hazards had life-changing and devastating impacts on
communities on every single continent. Temperature is just one of the indicators of climate change
. Other key indicators of global
heating include greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content, ocean pH
levels (levels of acidity), global mean sea level, glacial mass and the extent
of sea ice.