The latest annual report on global climate, this one covering last year (2022) is in — a collaboration of NOAA and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) — and it documents record-high greenhouse gas level and global sea levels.
The report, which is the work of 570 scientists in over 60 countries, has been characterized as “….like an annual physical of the Earth system….” by the director of the National Center for Environment Information (NCEI), Derek Arnt. NCEI, located in Asheville, North Carolina archives all of the country’s climate and meteorological information.
Among its findings:
Earth’s greenhouse gas concentrations were the highest on record. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — Earth’s major atmospheric greenhouse gases — once again reached record high concentrations in 2022.
Warming trends continued across the globe. A range of scientific analyses indicate that the annual global surface temperature was 0.45 to 0.54 of a degree F (0.25 to 0.30 of a degree C) above the 1991–2020 average. This places 2022 among the six warmest years since records began in the mid-to-late 1800s.
Ocean heat and global sea level were the highest on record. Over the past half-century, the ocean has stored more than 90% of the excess energy trapped in Earth’s system by greenhouse gases and other factors. The global ocean heat content, measured from the ocean’s surface to a depth of 2,000 meters (approximately 6,561 ft), continued to increase and reached new record highs in 2022. Global mean sea level was record high for the 11th-consecutive year.
Heatwaves shattered temperature records across the planet. In July, a 14-day heatwave swept through western Europe. A weather station in England recorded a temperature of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) for the first time ever, over 100 stations in France broke all-time temperature records and stations in at least six other European countries set all-time heat records. The extreme high summer temperatures over Europe resulted in unprecedented melting of glaciers in the Alps, with over 6% of their volume — a record loss — lost in Switzerland in 2022 alone. Record-breaking summer heat in central and eastern Asia, particularly in the Yangtze River basin, led to a devastating drought that affected more than 38 million people and caused a direct economic loss of $4.75 billion U.S. dollars.
Full forecast details and more at the WGN Weather Center blog
The Arctic was warm and wet. The Arctic had its fifth-warmest year in the 123-year record. 2022 marked the ninth-consecutive year that Arctic temperature anomalies were higher than the global mean anomalies, providing more evidence of the process known as Arctic amplification, when physical processes cause the Arctic to warm more quickly than the rest of the planet. The seasonal Arctic minimum sea-ice extent, typically reached in September, was the 11th-smallest in the 43-year record.
Although tropical cyclone activity was near average, storms brought devastation to many areas across the globe. There were 85 named tropical storms during the Northern and Southern Hemisphere storm seasons last year, which was near the 1991–2020 average of 87. Despite this, several storms caused massive damage. In the North Atlantic, Hurricane Fiona became the most intense and most destructive tropical or post-tropical cyclone in Atlantic Canada’s history. Hurricane Ian, a major hurricane, killed more than 100 people and became the third costliest disaster in the U.S., with damage estimated at $113 billion U.S. dollars.
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