The latest assessment comes from the European Union's (EU) Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
In its annual assessment, the C3S reported that 2021 adds to a now seven-year hot streak since 2015 of the hottest years globally on record. 2016 and 2020 were the hottest years, followed by 2019 and 2017, with 2021 coming in slightly hotter than 2015 and 2018. Accurate measurements are available from the mid-19th century onwards.
The C3S said the average annual temperature was between 1.1 to 1.2 degrees Celsius greater than pre-industrial temperatures, as measured between 1850 and 1900. It also observed significantly increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and growth rates. Methane reached an annual record of 1,876 parts per billion (ppb), and it was added to the atmosphere at rates of 14.6 ppb per year and 16.3 ppb per year for 2020 and 2021, respectively. These rates are more than double the average annual growth rate for the previous 17 years.
"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," said C3S Director Carlo Buontempo.
"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."
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