2022 was fifth hottest year on record, say NASA and World Meteorological Organization


The year 2022 was the fifth hottest in history according to the most recent global climate study conducted by NASA. Research by the American space agency corroborates data released by other major institutions, which also identified last year as one of the most ardent on record.

Also released this Thursday (12), the report of the World Meteorological Organization reached the same conclusion. Earlier this week, the European Commission’s Copernicus global warming monitoring program was another to classify 2022 as the fifth hottest in the historical series.

For NASA, 2022 tied with 2015 for fifth place in the ranking of the hottest years. According to the agency’s calculations, the last nine years were the warmest since the modern model of documentation was adopted, in 1880. They indicate that the planet’s temperature has increased by more than 0.2°C every decade. In 2022, the recorded value was 1.11°C higher than the 19th century average.

This scenario indicates that the world is on track to exceed the target established in the Paris Agreement, in 2015, which provides for limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

“At the rate we’re going, it won’t take more than two decades to get there. [aumento de 1,5°C]. The only way this doesn’t happen is if we stop releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Despite the appeals of the scientific community, 2022 saw a rise in carbon dioxide emissions, showing the intensification of pollution after a slight period of decline caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The main source of emissions was, once again, the burning of fossil fuels.

The researchers point out that 2022 was the fifth hottest year in history even with the occurrence of the La Niña phenomenon, which contributes to lower temperatures. The researchers estimate that the phenomenon may have helped to reduce the global temperature by about 0.06°C last year. Even so, 2022 was the hottest La Niña year in the historical series.

The future return of El Niño —”brother” of La Niña, but which favors higher temperatures— should have the opposite effect. For Gavin Schmidt, from NASA, the phenomenon “will probably be a trigger for a new record” of temperatures at a global level in other years.

NASA also drew attention to the effects of global warming, which is already causing damage around the world, such as melting polar ice caps, rising ocean levels and longer and longer fire seasons.

“Our warming climate is already leaving an imprint: wildfires are raging, hurricanes are getting stronger, droughts are wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Most of the extra heat on the planet builds up in the oceans, and in 2022 there was a new ocean temperature record. Warmer waters have a number of environmental consequences, including favoring more intense storms.

The intensification of extreme phenomena was also one of the highlights of the World Meteorological Organization report.

“In 2022, we faced several dramatic climate disasters that claimed many lives and livelihoods, in addition to damaging security and health, food, energy and water infrastructure,” said the organization’s secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

“Large areas of Pakistan were flooded, with great economic losses and human lives. Record heat waves were observed in China, Europe, North America and South America. The long drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe”, he enumerated .

Also released on Thursday was the report by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States), which differed slightly from the others, classifying 2022 as the sixth hottest year in history.

Due to differences in data sources and analysis methodologies, it is common for some discrepancy to occur between research institutions. The trend of rapid warming and rising emissions, however, is common to all work.

The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.

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