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2021 joins top 7 warmest years on record

Last year, 2021, joins the list of the seven warmest years on record, the United Nations weather agency has said on Wednesday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Last year, 2021, joins the list of the seven warmest years on record, the United Nations weather agency has said on Wednesday. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 20, 2022

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Cape Town – Last year, 2021, joins the list of the seven warmest years on record, the United Nations weather agency has said on Wednesday.

It is also the seventh consecutive year when the global temperature has been more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels; edging closer to the limit laid out under the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

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According to the UN agency, although average global temperatures have been temporarily cooled by the 2020-2022 La Niña events, 2021 is still one of the seven warmest years on record, according to six leading international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Global warming and other long-term climate change trends are expected to continue as a result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the agency has said.

The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 (± 0.13) °C above the pre-industrial era levels.

The agency says that the Paris Agreement calls for all countries to strive towards a limit of 1.5°C of global warming through concerted climate action and realistic Nationally Determined Contributions – the individual country plans that need to become a reality to slow down the rate of heating.

WMO says that it uses six international datasets “to ensure the most comprehensive, authoritative temperature assessment”, and the same data are used in its authoritative annual state of the climate reports.

Furthermore, the warmest seven years have all been since 2015; the top three being 2016, 2019 and 2020.

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An exceptionally strong El Niño event occurred in 2016, which contributed to record global average warming, said the UN agency.

“Back-to-back La Niña events mean that 2021 warming was relatively less pronounced compared to recent years. Even so, 2021 was still warmer than previous years influenced by La Niña”, WMO Secretary-General, Prof Petteri Taalas said.

ANA

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