The past seven years, including 2021, have been the warmest since global level Annual temperatures began to be recorded in 1850, according to data released by Copernicus, the European Union’s Climate Change Service.
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2021 was the fifth year warm in history, with an average temperature 0.3 degrees higher than that of the 1991-2020 reference period, and between 1-1 and 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial averages, according to Copernicus measurements, which also reveal that the concentrations in the CO2 atmosphere continued to rise throughout 2021, reaching a peak of 414 ppm.
The measures adopted by the countries to contain the expansion of covid in 2020 and 2021 managed to reduce slightly (about 55%) the emissions of gases from greenhouse effect that cause global warming, but even so, “the bulk of emissions remain at the high level they had in 2018 or 2019,” the director of Copernicus, Vincent-Henri Peuch, lamented at a press conference.
Worldwide, the increase Average temperature compared to the last 30 years was especially intense in Canada, the west coast of the United States and some regions of Central Africa and the Middle East, according to this service implemented by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (CEPMPM).
Europe experienced its “hottest summer” in 2021, with a temperature record of 48.8 ºC, recorded in Sicily – almost one degree higher than the previous maximum – and a series of climatic events extremes such as the heat waves suffered in the Mediterranean region (more severe in Spain, Italy and Greece) or the floods in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The forest fires preceded by “dry and hot conditions” devastated, above all, the eastern and central Mediterranean area, where Turkey was one of the most important countries. affected, although Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania, North Macedonia, Algeria and Tunisia also suffered.
“All these events of last summer show that the frequency in which extreme meteorological phenomena occur has increased”, recalled in his speech Mauro Facchini, who heads the Copernicus unit within the European Commission, who has cited this fact among the consequences of the climate crisis.
Although it’s about years exceptionally warm, 2021 was not as hot as 2020 -which was also “La Niña” -, nor was it as hot as 2016, 2017 or 2019; and indeed in certain regions (Alaska, Australia, parts of Antarctica, western Russia and the extreme east of the country, and in the central and eastern Pacific) there were temperatures below the average for the reference period.
The new Copernicus data also shows that in 2021 maximum and “worrying” levels of accumulation in the atmosphere of particles of methane, although it is still too early to determine the reason for this record, which could be due to natural causes, such as wetlands, or anthropogenic, such as agriculture or hydrocarbon production.
“The sources of methane are varied and complex”, stressed Peuch, who added that now the scientific community will face the “challenge” of thoroughly studying this “worrying” increased methane concentrations, which in 2021 reached approximately 1,876 parts per billion (ppb).
With information from EFE