The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was 414.7 parts per million in 2021, which is 2.3 parts higher than in 2020, the report said
Greenhouse gas and sea levels touched new highs in 2021, according to a report by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was 414.7 parts per million in 2021, which is 2.3 parts higher than in 2020, according to the NOAA report. The rise in greenhouse gas levels has been due to easing fossil fuel emissions last year, as much of the global economy has slowed sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sea levels rose for the tenth year in a row. They reached a new record of 3.8 inches or 97 millimetres above the average for 1993, when satellite measurements began.
The year 2021 was among the seven-warmest years since global records began in the mid-to-late 1800s. It was also one of the six-warmest years on record as measured by global mean surface temperature.
The low average temperature was due to La Nina, an occasional phenomenon in the Pacific that cools waters. La Nina prevailed for all but two months of the year — June and July.
The month of February had the smallest temperature anomaly of the year for the globe and was the coldest since February 2014.
But water temperatures were also exceptionally high. Lakes in Tibet, an important region since it is a water source for many of Asia’s major rivers, recorded high temperatures
Tropical storms, which increase as the Earth warms, spiked in 2021, the report said. These included Super Typhoon Rai, which killed nearly 400 people in the Philippines in December. Hurricane Ida wrought havoc in the Caribbean before becoming the second most dangerous storm to kill people in Louisiana after Katrina.
Among other extraordinary events mentioned in the report was the premature blooming of cherry trees in Kyoto, Japan, for the first time after 1409.
The incidence of wildfires, which are also expected to increase due to climate change, was comparatively low after recent years, although devastating fires were seen in both the American West and Siberia.
The 2021 report comes days after a study said Greenland’s ice sheet is already beginning to melt to dangerous levels, even as it will raise sea levels without any heat in the future. This is expected to submerge the homes of hundreds of millions of people living in low-lying areas around the world.
The goal to limit temperatures above pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst effects of climate change was set by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.
Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator, said it was clear from the data presented in the report that climate change was having an impact worldwide and there was no sign of its slowing down.
He said: “Many people had to face the worst floods in a millennium this year. There was a terrible drought this year and the most number of people in history were affected by heat. All this shows that the climate crisis is not just a future threat. We must find solutions from today itself.”
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