19 Jan 2023
2022 the fifth warmest year: NASA
Earth’s average surface temperature in 2022 tied with 2015 as the fifth warmest on record, according to an analysis by NASA. Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, global temperatures in 2022 were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.89 degrees Celsius) above the average for NASA’s baseline period (1951-1980), scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) […]

Earth's average surface temperature in 2022 tied with 2015 as the fifth warmest on record, according to an analysis by NASA. Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, global temperatures in 2022 were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.89 degrees Celsius) above the average for NASA's baseline period (1951-1980), scientists from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York reported. This information has been reported by scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

“This warming trend is alarming,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Our warming climate is already making a mark: Forest fires are intensifying; hurricanes are getting stronger; droughts are wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising. NASA is deepening our commitment to do our part in addressing climate change. Our Earth System Observatory will provide state-of-the-art data to support our climate modeling, analysis and predictions to help humanity confront our planet’s changing climate.”

The past nine years have been the warmest years since modern record keeping began in 1880. This means Earth in 2022 was about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 1.11 degrees Celsius) warmer than the late 19th century average.

The reason for the warming trend is attributed to the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere. Recently, scientists determined carbon dioxide emissions were the highest on record in 2022. The Arctic region continues to experience the strongest warming trends – close to four times the global average – according to GISS research presented at the 2022 annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, as well as a separate study.

Communities around the world are experiencing impacts scientists see as connected to the warming atmosphere and ocean. The warm winters Europe saw in the beginning of January is just one example. Climate change has intensified rainfall and tropical storms, deepened the severity of droughts, and increased the impact of storm surges. Be it the torrential rains that devastated Pakistan or the current mudslides in California, floods in Nigeria or Hurricane Ian, climate change has not spared any country.  

NASA’s global temperature analysis is drawn from data collected by weather stations and Antarctic research stations, as well as instruments mounted on ships and ocean buoys. NASA uses the period from 1951-1980 as a baseline to understand how global temperatures change over time. That baseline includes climate patterns such as La Niña and El Niño, as well as unusually hot or cold years due to other factors, ensuring it encompasses natural variations in Earth's temperature.

Many factors can affect the average temperature in any given year. For example, 2022 was one of the warmest on record despite a third consecutive year of La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean. NASA scientists estimate that La Niña’s cooling influence may have lowered global temperatures slightly (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.06 degrees Celsius) from what the average would have been under more typical ocean conditions.
A separate, independent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that the global surface temperature for 2022 was the sixth highest since 1880. NOAA scientists use much of the same raw temperature data in their analysis and have a different baseline period (1901-2000) and methodology. Although rankings for specific years can differ slightly between the records, they are in broad agreement and both reflect ongoing long-term warming.

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