2022 was a year of climatic extremes, such as droughts or floods, record temperatures and concentrations of greenhouse gases, according to data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which rank it as the second warmest year in Europe and the fifth globally, after 2016, 2020 and 2019 and 2017.
Fifth warmest year
According to the C3S annual Global Climate 2022 report, based on data captured by the European Union (EU) Copernicus satellite system and published on Tuesday, the summer was the hottest on record in Europe and the third warmest in recent years.
In the year as a whole, the average temperature was 0.3°C above that of the period 1991-2020 and 1.2° above that of the period 1850-1900, usually used as an approximation to the pre-industrial era.
In fact, 2022 was the eighth consecutive year with temperatures higher than the pre-industrial level by more than 1°C, with thermometers that were more than 2°C above the average for the period 1991-2020 in northern areas of Central Siberia and along the Antarctic Peninsula.
This is a situation that makes it difficult to meet the goal that scientists have set: to avoid 1.5°C in temperature by the end of the century, compared to pre-industrial values.
Regions with the warmest year on record included large areas of Western Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, China, New Zealand, northwest Africa and the Horn of Africa.
According to the C3S director, Carlo Buontempo, what is worrying is not that records were broken by country, but that, globally, it was the eighth consecutive year exceeding the pre-industrial average temperature by 1°. He also stressed that forecasts suggest that high temperatures will also be reached this summer.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by approximately 2.1 parts per million (ppm), a rate similar to that of recent years; while those of methane increased by about 12 parts per billion (ppb), a speed above the average although less than the historical maximums of the last two years.
Weather extremes around world
The year closed with an average of 417 ppm of CO2 and 1,894 ppb of methane in the atmosphere, which, in both cases, represents the highest concentrations recorded by satellite. If other records are included, in the case of CO2 it would be the highest level in more than 2 million years and in the case of methane, the highest in more than 800,000 years.
“Greenhouse gases are the main drivers of climate change and their concentration continues to increase every year and show no sign of slowing down,” said Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.
“2022 was yet another year of weather extremes in Europe and around the world. These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of global warming,” according to C3S Deputy Director Samantha Burgess.
In his opinion, the C3S Global Climate 2022 report clearly demonstrates that to avoid the “worst consequences” it is necessary for society to “urgently” reduce carbon dioxide emissions and quickly adapt to climate change.
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