Dec 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

2022 likely to be another top 10 warmest year

Map showing sea surface height anomalies between Nov. 26-Dec. 5, 2021.
Map showing sea surface height anomalies between Nov. 26-Dec. 5, 2021, with the dark blues along and just to the north of the equator a sign of La Niña. Height anomalies are used as a proxy for ocean temperatures. Photo: NASA

Despite the second La Niña in a row, 2022 is likely to rank as one of the top 10 warmest years on record globally, the UK Met Office predicts.

Why it matters: Every year since 2015 has been a top 10 warmest year in the Met Office's data set.

Details: La Niña events are characterized by cooler than average temperatures in the equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean, which tend to hold global average temperatures down slightly.

  • The occurrence of such events in consecutive years is known as a "double-dip" La Niña.
  • The average global temperature for 2022 is projected to be between 0.97°C (1.7°F) and 1.21°C (2.2°F) above preindustrial levels, with a central estimate of 1.09°C (1.97°F).
  • This would mark the eighth straight year in which temperatures have exceeded 1.0°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial levels.

Of note: In a sign of how swiftly and significantly the world is warming, the Met Office says that the El Niño years that occurred at the end of the 1990s, leading to global heat records at the time, now rank lower than 2021 and that 2022 will likely beat them as well.

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