Earth Reaches Its 6th Warmest Year on Record: Report

Sunset over cracked soil in the desert. Global warming concept - stock photo
Getty Stock Images

The deep ocean, where most heat is stored in the seas, also set a record for warmth in 2021, according to a separate new study.

Did you know that Earth hit its sixth hottest year on record in 2021? It's a fact, according to several newly released temperature measurements.

Last week, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with a private measuring group released their calculation for last year’s global temperature, which was confirmed by scientists and the experts that “the exceptionally hot year is part of a long-term warming trend that shows hints of accelerating,” the Associated Press reported. 

Based on six different calculations, 2021 was the fifth and seventh hottest year since the late 1800s, according to the report. 

According to NASA, 2021 tied with 2018 for sixth warmest, while NOAA put last year in sixth place by itself, the AP reported.

Gavin Schmidt, the climate scientist who heads NASA’s temperature team, said that "long-term trend is very, very clear. And it’s because of us. And it’s not going to go away until we stop increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

Schmidt explained that the last eight years have been the eight hottest on record, NASA and NOAA data agree. Global temperatures, averaged over a 10-year period to take out natural variability, are nearly 2 degrees (1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than 140 years ago, their data shows.

Scientists also pointed out that 2021 was the hottest La Nina year on record and that the year did not represent a cooling-off of human-caused climate change, but provided more of the same heat, the report said. 

The Japanese Meteorological Agency, satellite measurements by Copernicus Climate Change Service in Europe, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville were other groups involved in the measurements for 2021. 

Russel Vose, climate analysis chief at NOAA, said during last week’s press conference that “there’s a 99% chance that 2022 will be among the 10 warmest years on record and a 10% chance it will be the hottest on record.”

He pointed out that "chances are 50-50 that at least one year in the 2020s will hit 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming since pre-industrial times — the level of warming nations agreed to try to avoid in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Both Vose and Schmidt added that this threshold is important, as extreme weather from climate change is hurting people now in their daily lives with about 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warming, according to the AP.

According to NOAA, the global average temperature last year was 58.5 degrees (14.7 Celsius). In 1988, James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate scientist at the time, made headlines when he testified to Congress about global warming in a year that was the hottest on record. Now, the 57.7 degrees (14.3 Celsius) of 1988 ranks as the 28th hottest year on record, the report said.

In 2021, 1.8 billion people in 25 Asian, African, and Middle Eastern nations had their hottest years on record, including China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar, and South Korea, according to Berkeley Earth, the AP reported.

Related Stories