The European Union’s climate monitoring service reported on Monday that the past seven years have been the warmest on record globally “by a clear margin”, as it raised alarm over a sharp rise in record concentrations of methane in the atmosphere.
Countries around the world have exploded in recent years by a relentless onslaught of seasonal disasters linked to global warming, including record-shattering wildfires in Australia and Siberia, heatwaves once in 1,000 years in North America, and extreme rainfall. Is. Flooding in Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
In its latest annual assessment, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) confirmed that 2021 has joined the unbroken hot streak from 2015.
It found that last year was the fifth warmest globally, marginally warmer than 2015 and 2018. Exact measurements go back to the middle of the 19th century.
The C3S said annual mean temperatures were 1.1 to 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, measured between 1850 and 1900.
This was despite the cooling effect of the natural La Nia weather event.
Overall, the monitoring service found that the past seven years “have been the warmest years on record by a clear margin”.
“2021 was another year of extreme temperatures with the hottest summer in Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, not to mention unprecedented high temperatures in North America,” said C3S director Carlo Buontempo.
“These events are a stark reminder of the need to change our ways, to take decisive and effective steps towards a sustainable society, and to work towards reducing net carbon emissions.”
C3S also monitored atmospheric concentrations of the planet-warming gases carbon dioxide and methane, which both showed no signs of slowing down.
Methane in particular has risen “very much” to an annual record of about 1,876 parts per billion (ppb).
The growth rates for 2020 and 2021 were 14.6 ppb per annum and 16.3 ppb per annum, respectively. This is more than double the average annual growth rate seen in the last 17 years.
But a range of human-caused and natural sources make it hard to pinpoint why there has been such a strong increase in recent years, C3S said.
Methane (CH4) is the gas most responsible for global warming after CO2. While more short-lived in the atmosphere, it is several times more potent than CO2.
Natural sources include wetlands, while human-induced sources are natural gas and oil production, coal mining and seepage from landfills, as well as rice paddies, livestock and manure handling.
Vincent-Henri Puch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, which tracks greenhouse gas growth, said the observational evidence was important in the effort to avoid a “climate catastrophe.”
Reducing the amount of methane seeping into the air would sharply reduce rising temperatures, and help close the so-called emissions gap between the Paris Agreement’s target of a 1.5C cap on warming and 2.7C, even as we move forward. Have been All nations honor their carbon-cutting promises.
This has sparked interest among policymakers to find the fastest ways to reduce emissions.
At last year’s COP26 climate summit, nearly a hundred nations joined the initiative to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent this decade. Notably absent was China.
The oil and gas industry has the greatest potential for rapid reduction, especially through gas leak detection and repair during production and transportation.
While global warming may seem gradual, its impact on extreme events is “dramatic”, said Rowan Sutton of the UK’s National Center for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading.
“We should see record-breaking 2021 events, such as the heatwave in Canada and the floods in Germany, as a punch in the face to wake politicians and the public alike to the urgency of the climate emergency,” he told the Science Media Center. told. ,
“Furthermore, the continued increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere screams that the underlying causes have yet to be addressed.”
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