The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has confirmed 2022 as one of the warmest years on record.
It noted that this situation was fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat.
WMO, in a statement, stated that the past eight years were the warmest on record globally, according to six leading international temperature datasets consolidated by the UN weather agency.
The agency further explained that 2022 was the eight consecutive year that global temperatures rose at least oneC above pre-industrial levels, fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat.
“The cooling effect of the La Niña phenomenon – now in its third year – prevented 2022 from being the warmest ever.
“This cooling impact will be short-lived and will not reverse the long-term warming trend caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
“There is a 60 per cent chance that La Niña will continue until March 2023, followed by “ENSO-neutral” conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña),’’it stated.
Regardless of La Niña, 2022 was still marked by dramatic weather disasters linked to climate change, from catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, deadly heatwaves in China, Europe, North and South America, and relentless drought and misery for millions in the Horn of Africa.
In December, severe storms also began ripping across large areas of North America, bringing high winds, heavy snow, flooding and low temperatures.
These emergencies had “claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure”, WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas, said.
The secretary general, however, called for all nations to step up preparedness for extreme weather events.
“Today only half of 193 (UN) members have proper early warning services, which leads to much higher economic and human losses.
“There are also big gaps in basic weather observations in Africa and Island states, which have a major negative impact on the quality of weather forecasts.”
Data analysis by the UN agency showed that the average global temperature in 2022 was about 1.15C (34.07F) above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels.
This compares with 1.09C (33.96F) from 2011 to 2020 and indicated that long-term warming showed no signs of stopping.
“Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This is expected to continue,” the UN agency said, adding that the warmest eight years had all been since 2015, with 2016, 2019 and 2020 constituting the top three.
“An exceptionally strong El Niño event occurred in 2016, which contributed to record global temperatures,” WMO explained.