• Greenhouse gases have reached new records
  • Earth’s longstanding warming has continued
  • Ocean heat and global sea levels reached the highest levels on record

Thanks to NASA’s Joe Witte for highlighting the new 2022 STATE OF THE CLIMATE REPORT published in the August 2022 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

This is the 32nd year an annual assessment of the state of the climate on Planet Earth has been published. Producing these reports is a global effort. Contributing to this year’s overview of Earth’s weather and climate are 530 scientists in 60 countries–led by NOAA scientists at the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) which is the official archivist of all meteorological and climatological data collected in the U.S.

It’s clearly written, well done and well worth a read. Among some of the key 2022 findings:

–Earth’s greenhouse gases were the highest on record. The major atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — each rose once again to new record highs during 2021.

–Earth’s warming trend continued. A range of scientific analyses indicate that annual global surface temperatures were 0.38 – 0.50 degrees F above the 1991 -2020 average. This places 2021 among the six warmest years since records began in the mid to late 1800s. The last seven years (2015–2021) were the seven warmest years on record….

–Ocean heat and global sea level were the highest on record. The ocean sequesters the vast majority of the excess energy trapped in the Earth’s system by greenhouse gases and other factors; estimated at more than 90% over the past half-century. Global ocean heat content, measured from the ocean’s surface to a depth of more than 6,000 feet, continued to increase and reached new record highs in 2021. For the 10th consecutive year, the global average sea level rose to a new record high ….

–La Niña conditions lowered sea surface temperatures. La Niña conditions that began in mid-2020 continued for most of 2021.

–Temperatures were mixed in the Southern Hemisphere. La Niña contributed to the warmest year on record for New Zealand, but also to the coolest year since 2012 for Australia. In Antarctica, cold air within a strong, stable polar vortex contributed to the coldest winter (from April through September) on record at the South Pole. On the Antarctic Peninsula, the only part of the continent which reaches beyond the Antarctic Circle, two stations received persistent warm northerly winds; one station tied its highest annual temperature on record while the other experienced its second highest recorded temperature.

–The Arctic was cooler overall, but some records were set. The Arctic had its coolest year since 2013, but 2021 was still the 13th warmest year in the 122-year record. Extreme heat events occurred during the summer. During a massive heat wave in western North America, a temperature of 103.8 degrees F (39.9 degrees C) was recorded on June 30 at Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada; this was the highest temperature ever recorded above 60 degrees North latitude. A widespread melting event on the Greenland Ice Sheet on August 14, 2021 — the latest in the season on record — coincided with the first observed rainfall in the 33-year record at the Summit Station, which sits at more than 10,500 feet (3,200 meters) above sea level. While the Arctic minimum sea ice extent was the 12th smallest extent in the 43-year record, the amount of multiyear ice — ice that survives one or more summer melt seasons — remaining in the Arctic was the second lowest on record.

Read a summary of the complete report here.