Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has reported that the last seven years had been the hottest on record globally, while also raising the alarm over sharp increases in methane concentrations in the atmosphere.
According to the C3S latest annual assessment, 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record globally, marginally warmer than 2015 and 2018, with accurate measurements of global temperature tracking back to the mid-19th century. Copernicus noted that 2021 had joined the unbroken warm streak which began in 2015.
The annual average temperature in 2021 was between 1.1 and 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which use as a baseline temperature between 1850 and 1900. The climate service report stressed that this increase was recorded despite the cooling effect of the natural La Nina weather phenomenon.
“2021 was yet another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, not to mention the unprecedented high temperatures in North America”, C3S director Carl Buontempo announced in a release issued today. “These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, take decisive and effective steps toward a sustainable society and work towards reducing net carbon emissions.”
Copernicus also warned that both of the greenhouse gases it has been monitoring, carbon dioxide and methane, have been becoming increasingly concentrated in the atmosphere, with no signs of a slowdown, despite pandemic-induced changes to the global economy.
The report emphasised that methane concentration has gone up “very substantially”, to an annual record of about 1,876 parts per billion (ppb) in the atmosphere. The growth rate in 2021 was recorded at 16.3 ppb. This represents more than double the annual growth rate seen between 2002 and 2019, according to the report.