The last year was the earth’s sixth-warmest on record, while the past seven years were among the warmest ever recorded, according to research released Thursday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The NOAA analysis found that while Earth was slightly cooler than 2019 and 2020, 2021 was still among the warmest on record dating back to 1880.
Every year from 2013 to 2021 was among the ten warmest recorded years, and 2021 was the 45th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th century average, according to the agency. The average land and ocean surface temperature during the year was about 1.5 degrees above the 20th-century average.
The analysis also found that ocean heat content, or the heat stored in the ocean’s upper levels, hit an all-time high last year after also breaking the record the previous year.
December 2021, meanwhile, was 1.49 degrees over the 20th-century average for global land and ocean surfaces, tied with 2016 for fifth-warmest December on record. This warmth was less pronounced in North America and Europe, which had their coldest December since 2016.
NASA’s analysis also determined that 2021 tied 2018 for the sixth-warmest year on record. The global temperatures were 1.5 degrees above the average temperatures from 1951-1980, the period NASA uses as its baseline.
The European Union’s climate service, Copernicus, went even further, ranking the year as the fifth-warmest on record.
“Science leaves no room for doubt: Climate change is the existential threat of our time,” NASA Administrator Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Energy & Environment — Earth records its hottest years ever Global temperatures in past seven years hottest ever observed, new data show NASA welcomes chief scientist, senior climate adviser in new dual role MORE said in a statement.
“Eight of the top 10 warmest years on our planet occurred in the last decade, an indisputable fact that underscores the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country – and all of humanity," he added. "NASA’s scientific research about how Earth is changing and getting warmer will guide communities throughout the world, helping humanity confront climate and mitigate its devastating effects.”