Rose Andreatta

Publication Date January 13, 2022

Climate monitoring groups release their annual global surface temperature data

A world map plotted with color blocks depicting percentiles of global average land and ocean temperatures for the full year 2021. Color blocks depict increasing warmth, from dark blue (record-coldest area) to dark red (record-warmest area) and spanning areas in between that were "much cooler than average" through "much warmer than average." (NOAA NCEI)

This week, climate monitoring groups released their annual global surface temperature data, showing that 2021 was hotter than any year prior to 2015, despite a La Niña.

On Monday, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service released its annual findings, which show that 2021 was the fifth warmest year on record. The Japan Meteorological Agency has published its data, showing 2021 was the sixth warmest on record. And on Thursday, NOAA, NASA, and Berkeley Earth announced 2021 was world’s 6th-warmest year on record.

These reports confirm that 2021 was among the seven warmest years on record globally and tied with 2018 as the hottest La Niña year on record. (La Niña events draw cold water to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, which means La Niña years tend to be cooler than years with El Niño or neutral conditions in the Pacific.)

In related news, a study released on Tuesday found that ocean temperatures were the hottest on record for the third year in a row. The ocean absorbs the vast majority (~90%) of the heat from human carbon emissions, which makes ocean heat content one of the best indicators of climate change. In 2021, the world ocean was the hottest ever recorded by humans, and was higher than last year's record value by 14 zetajoules – the equivalent of seven Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Rose Andreatta image

Rose Andreatta

Rose Andreatta is the director of the Climate Signals project and has over a decade of experience translating scientific information into usable formats for a variety of audiences. Rose earned her Master’s of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University and holds a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting from Pennsylvania State University.


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