Satellite measurements show that 2021 was one of the warmest years on record, with the past seven years being the hottest period recorded globally.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said Monday that last year was the fifth-warmest year according to records dating back to 1850. It said average global temperatures in 2021 were 1.1 to 1.2 Celsius warmer than in the pre-industrial period from 1850 to 1900.
The hottest years on record were 2020 and 2016, according to the group.
C3S, which tracks global temperatures and other climate indicators, also reported that levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere continued to rise last year, hitting new highs.
The group found that 2021 was Europe’s hottest summer on record. It followed an unusually cold April that wiped out fruit crops in some countries, including France and Hungary.
Scientists say higher temperatures can cause the air to absorb more moisture and lead to extreme rainfall. Last year saw flooding in several European countries, including Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to try to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists say that would help the world avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
To reach that goal, the world would need to limit emissions by about half of current levels by 2030, according to scientists. However, the C3S said that emissions tracked higher in 2021, with the level of CO2 in the atmosphere reaching 414.3 parts per million, up 2.4ppm from 2020.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.