The average surface temperature for the Earth in 2022 tied with 2015 as the fifth warmest on record. The warming trend for the planet continued with global temperatures 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the average baseline for 1951-1980 that NASA uses for its studies. Compared with the late 19th century average used in setting climate goals, global temperatures are up about 1.1 degrees Celsius, or 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Overall, the past nine years have been the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880. The rising temperatures have moved in concert with rising levels of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere from human activity. Many factors can affect the average temperature in any given year including El Nino and La Nina conditions in the Pacific. But the longer-term trend is quite clear. Global temperatures continue to rise.
Greenhouse gas emissions have reached all-time high levels despite increasing efforts to reduce them. There was a real drop in levels in 2020 due to reduced activity during COVID-19 lockdowns, but they rebounded soon thereafter.
The Arctic region continues to experience the strongest warming trends, as much as four times the global average. Arctic warming has a major impact on weather at lower latitudes as it changes the behavior of the jet stream as well as affecting ocean currents and water temperatures.
As global temperatures continue to rise, rainfall and tropical storms have become more intense, droughts have become more severe, and ocean storm surges have had increasing impact. From torrential monsoons in Asia to megadroughts in the U.S. Southwest, extreme weather has become the new normal.
Photo, posted June 20, 2020, courtesy of Daxis via Flickr.