2022 fifth warmest year globally, second for Europe

The Copernicus Climate Change Service Global Climate Highlights 2022

Another year characterized by extreme weather events with a high number of record temperatures and a persistent increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is revealed by new data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) contained in the Global Climate Highlights 2022.

Particularly, summer 2022 was the hottest on record in Europe and every boreal summer month has been at least the third warmest globally. Overall, 2022 was the second warmest year in Europe (in some countries like Italy the hottest ever), while globally it was the fifth warmest year according to the Era5 dataset.

Globally, 2022 – explains C3S – was the 5th warmest year (however from the 4th to the 8th warmest year the margin of difference is very small); the last eight years have been the warmest on record; the annual mean temperature was 0.3°C higher than in the baseline period 1991-2020, which is equivalent to about 1.2°C higher than in the period 1850-1900. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have increased approximately 2.1 ppm, with rates similar to recent years. Atmospheric methane concentrations rose by nearly 12 ppb, higher than average, but below the all-time highs of the past two years.

Europe experienced the second warmest year on record, surpassed only by the year 2020 and with temperatures only slightly higher than in 2019, 2015 and 2014; the Old Continent was characterized by thewarmest summer on record and autumn was the third warmest. Prolonged and intense heatwaves hit western and northern Europe and persistently low levels of precipitation, combined with high temperatures and other factors, led to widespread drought conditions. The highest total emissions from summer bushfires (June-August) estimated for the EU and the UK in the last 15 years occurred: France, Spain, Germany and Slovenia had the highest summer fire emissions in recent years 20 years. The C3S points out again that “Era5 agrees with other widely used temperature datasets that Europe’s temperature has risen more than double the global average over the past 30 years, with a higher rate of increase than any other continent of the world”.

Elsewhere, prolonged heatwaves hit Pakistan and northern India in the spring and central and eastern China in the summer; Pakistan experienced extensive flooding in August due to extreme rainfall. The regions that recorded the hottest year ever include large areas of Western Europe (in some countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Great Britain), the Middle East, Central Asia and China, South Korea, New Zealand, Northwest Africa and the Horn of Africa.

In February the Antarctic sea ice reached the minimum extent of the last 44 years of satellite records and for six months the extent of the Antarctic Sea ice reached record values ​​or almost. Australia experienced below average temperatures, with unusually wet conditions for much of the year, especially in the east of the continent, with several episodes of extensive flooding, a situation typically associated with persistent La Niña conditions and likely exacerbated by saturation of soils.

“2022 was another year marked by extreme weather events in Europe and around the world. These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of global warming. The latest C3S Climate Highlights 2022 clearly demonstrates that to avoid worse consequences society will need to urgently reduce carbon emissions and adapt rapidly to climate change,” he notes Samantha Burgess, Deputy Director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service.

For Mauro Facchini, Head of Earth Observation at the Directorate-General for Defense Industry and Space of the European Commission“actions taken to address climate change at global, European or national level show that high-quality data, information and knowledge on Earth observation are an essential tool. The Copernicus Climate Change Service provides monitoring authoritative and timely assessment of climate change, thereby informing adaptation efforts.