It’s time to take a health check on planet Earth. How much has the world suffocated in the past twelve months? This Monday, the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reveals that the year 2021 ranks fifth among the hottest years in history. This observation was already foreseen in October by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
We can first see in this ranking good (or not too bad) news: 2021 does not break the world heat record of last year, which climbed to the first place of the podium tied with 2016. In 2020, the planet had been particularly hot. The temperature around the world was 1.25 ° C above the pre-industrial average. Unheard of, especially in Europe.
The year 2021 was hot, but not enough to dethrone the title holders. With an average temperature 1.1 ° C to 1.2 ° C higher than that of the pre-industrial era, it is at the level of 2015 and 2018 (respectively + 1.07 ° C and + 1.08 ° C). “Overall, the first five months of the year saw relatively low temperatures compared to the last very hot years. However, from June to October, monthly temperatures were each time at least among the fourth warmest on record ”, details the Copernicus press release sent to Release.
Temperatures have played yoyo in Europe
“A slightly cooler year than the others was expected due to the cooling influence of La Niña [phénomène climatique d’origine océanique qui survient tous les quatre à cinq ans et se traduit par des températures anormalement froides, ndlr]. But it must be said that among the Niña years, 2021 was one of the hottest ever recorded ”, For his part, the climatologist Maximiliano Herrera points out, who takes into account the extreme temperatures on the globe. According to his calculations, more than 400 weather stations recorded heat records during the year, a figure in the vein of what he has observed since 2002.
It also highlights the fact that 2021 was on average significantly cooler in Europe compared to previous years. But if we look in more detail, the temperatures have played yoyo son the continent. “A cold phase in April, after a relatively hot month of March, caused end of season frost in the western parts of the continent. Conversely, the European summer of 2021 was the hottest ever recorded ”, says Copernicus.
In 2021, France was relatively spared. After several very hot years, the thermometer remained close to seasonal norms in France according to Météo France. Spring and summer were particularly wet and cool, apart from a short heat wave in the south of France in mid-August which contributed to a large fire in the Var. According to Météo France, the temperatures in metropolitan France were 0.2 ° C higher than the average for the years 1981-2010, which ranks the year 2021 in the 20th place of the hottest years since 1900. The heat was therefore less felt only in other countries. 2020 was also the hottest year in France since 1900, breaking the record so far held by 2018.
“Need to change our way of doing things”
Less good news: this new ranking of 2021 in the top 5 shows that there is indeed a basic trend linked to climate change induced by human activities. The past seven years are clearly the warmest on record since the pre-industrial era. “2021 was another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heat waves in the Mediterranean, Without forgetting unprecedented temperatures in North America, point Carlo Buontempo, director of the climate change department at Copernicus. These events are a powerful reminder of the need to change the way we do things, to take decisive and effective measures for a sustainable society and to work to reduce net carbon emissions. ”
Humanity is not at the end of its sorrows, underlines a study published Thursday in the journal Earth & Environment Communications. From 2030, almost all countries in the world could experience one year in two particularly hot because of the overflow of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere according to climatologists.
On the planet, the average temperature of the last twenty years already exceeds + 1 ° C of warming. There is therefore only a small half-degree left to reach the limit of 1.5 ° C, a threshold that humanity must not exceed if it wants to limit the damage of climate change.