The World Meteorological Organisation WMO said the year 2022 was the “fifth or sixth” warmest year on record and warned that global temperature is likely to breach the 1.5-degree celsius limit of the Paris Agreement with “increasing time”.
The weather agency, which assessed the temperature data from other groups explained that 2022 was the eighth consecutive year that global temperatures rose at least 1C above pre-industrial levels, fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat.
Data analysis by the UN agency showed that the average global temperature in 2022 was about 1.15C (34.07F) above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels.
This compares with 1.09C (33.96F) from 2011 to 2020 and indicates that long-term warming shows no signs of stopping.
“Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This is expected to continue,” the UN agency said, adding that the warmest eight years have all been since 2015, with 2016, 2019, and 2020 constituting the top three”.
“An exceptionally strong El Niño event occurred in 2016, which contributed to record global temperatures,” WMO explained.
“The cooling effect of the La Niña phenomenon now in its third year prevented 2022 from being the warmest ever” the agency said.
“This cooling impact will be short-lived and will not reverse the long-term warming trend caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere,” it said.
It said that there is a 60 per cent chance that La Niña will continue until March 2023, followed by “ENSO-neutral” conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña).
These emergencies have “claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure”, said WMO Secretary-General, Professor Petteri Taalas, and called upon all nations to step up preparedness for extreme weather events.
“Today only half of 193 (UN) Members have proper early warning services, which leads to much higher economic and human losses,” the WMO chief said.
A group of US-based scientists on Thursday also said, 2022 tied for the fifth hottest year on record, continuing a trend of rising global temperatures and extreme weather caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas.
Scientists with the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the past nine years have been the warmest since modern records began in 1880.
Scientists also said that 2023 would likely be warmer than 2022, which benefitted from a La Nina weather system that typically results in a slight decrease in global temperatures.
“Since the mid-1970s, you’ve seen this relentless increase in temperature, and that’s totally robust to all the different methodologies,” said NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt.
To reach its findings, the UN agency collated and compared weather datasets from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS); the United Kingdom’s Met Office Hadley Centre, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and its Copernicus Climate Change Service; and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).