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Lake County News, California – Report: Greenhouse Gases and Record Sea Levels in 2021

Changes in global mean sea level (basemap) and local sea level (dots) between 1993 and 2021. In the global ocean, sea level has risen almost everywhere (blue). Coastal areas where sea levels have fallen (brown) are places where the land is rising as it rebounds after being compressed by ice caps and glaciers during the last ice age. NOAA Climate.gov map, based on data from the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Greenhouse gas concentrations, global sea levels and ocean heat content hit record highs in 2021, according to the 32nd annual climate report.

The annual international review of the world’s climate, led by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, or AMS, is based on contributions from more than 530 scientists in more than 60 country.

It provides the most comprehensive update on Earth’s climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in the ocean. ‘space.

“The data presented in this report is clear – we continue to see more compelling scientific evidence that climate change is having global impacts and shows no signs of abating,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph. D. “With many communities affected by 1,000-odd floods, exceptional drought and historic heat this year, it shows that the climate crisis is not a future threat, but something we must deal with today so that we are working to build a climate-ready nation – and a world – that is resilient to climate extremes.”

“The 2021 AMS Climate Report provides the latest synthesis of scientific understanding of the climate system and the impact people have on it,” said Paul Higgins, Associate Executive Director of AMS. “If we take it seriously and use it wisely, it can help us thrive on a planet that’s getting smaller and smaller relative to the impact of our activities.”

Notable findings from the international report include:

• Earth’s greenhouse gases were the highest on record. The main atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – each reached new records in 2021. The global annual average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 414.7 parts per million (ppm). This was 2.3 ppm higher than 2020 amounts and was the highest measured in modern observational records as well as the highest at least in the last million years based on paleoclimate records . The average annual concentration of methane in the atmosphere was also the highest on record, and the annual increase of 18 parts per billion (ppb) was the highest since measurements began. The annual increase in methane has accelerated significantly since 2014. The annual increase of 1.3 ppb for nitrous oxide was the third highest since 2001, contributing to a global average annual atmospheric concentration of 334.3 ppb.
• The global warming trend has continued. A series of scientific analyzes indicate that annual global surface temperatures were 0.38 to 0.50 degrees F (0.21 to 0.28 degrees C) above the 1991 to 2020 average. 2021 among the six warmest years since records began in the mid to late 1800s. The past seven years (2015-2021) have been the seven warmest years on record, and mean surface temperature of the planet has increased at an average rate of 0.14 to 0.16 degrees F (0.08 to 0.09 degrees C) per decade since recording began and at a rate more than twice as high since 1981 (0.32 – 0.36 degrees F, or 0.18 – 0.20 degrees C, per decade since 1981, according to a series of scientific analyses).
• Ocean heat and global sea levels were the highest on record. The ocean sequesters the vast majority of excess energy trapped in the Earth system by greenhouse gases and other factors; estimated at more than 90% over the last half-century. The global ocean heat content, measured from the ocean surface to a depth of over 6,000 feet, continued to increase and reached new records in 2021. For the 10th consecutive year, the Global mean sea level reached a new record high and was about 3.8 inches (97.0 mm) higher than the average for 1993 – the year that marks the start of the record for satellite measurements.
• La Niña conditions lowered sea surface temperatures. La Niña conditions that began in mid-2020 continued through most of 2021. Annual global sea surface temperature in 2021 was lower than 2019 and 2020 partly due to La Niña, but was still 0.52 degrees F (0.29 degrees C) above the 1991-2020 average. About 57% of the ocean surface experienced at least one marine heat wave in 2021.
• Temperatures were mixed in the southern hemisphere. La Niña contributed to the warmest year on record for New Zealand, but also the coldest year since 2012 for Australia. In Antarctica, cold air in a powerful and stable polar vortex contributed to the coldest winter (April to September) on record at the South Pole. On the Antarctic Peninsula, the only part of the continent that extends beyond the Antarctic Circle, two stations received persistent warm northerly winds; one station equaled its highest annual temperature on record while the other experienced its second highest recorded temperature.
• The Arctic was cooler overall, but some records were set. The Arctic had its coldest year since 2013, but 2021 was still the 13th warmest year in the 122-year record. Extreme heat events occurred during the summer. During a massive heat wave in western North America, a temperature of 103.8 degrees F (39.9 degrees C) was recorded on June 30 in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Canada; this was the highest temperature ever recorded above 60 degrees north latitude. A widespread melting event on the Greenland Ice Sheet on August 14, 2021 – the last of the season on record – coincided with the first observed rainfall in 33 years at Summit Station, which sits at more than 10,500 feet (3 200 meters) above sea level. While the minimum extent of sea ice in the Arctic was the 12th smallest extent in the 43-year record, the amount of multi-year ice – ice that survives one or several summer melt seasons – remaining in the Arctic was the second lowest on record. This indicates the Arctic’s sustained transition to younger, thinner ice cover, which is more likely to experience complete melting in the future.
• Tropical cyclone activity was well above average. There were 97 named tropical storms during the Northern and Southern Hemisphere storm seasons last year, well above the 87 average from 1991 to 2020. Seven tropical cyclones reached Category 5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. The North Atlantic hurricane basin recorded 21 named storms, the third-largest for the basin, behind the record 30 hurricanes in 2020 and 28 in 2005. Category 4 Hurricane Ida was the most impactful storm of the Atlantic. With $75 billion (US dollars) in damage, Ida was the costliest US disaster of 2021 and the fifth costliest hurricane on record since 1980. Super Typhoon Rai was the third costliest typhoon in the history of the Philippines, causing around 1 billion dollars (US dollars) in damage and more than 400 deaths.

The State of the Climate Report is a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report available online. The NCEI High Level Summary Report is also available online.