2022: Satellite Data Maps A Year of Climate Extremes

I don’t know what was your climate experience in 2022, but for most of the people in Europe we could say that it was a really hot one. Yesterday the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) published its 2022 Global Climate Highlights and it was not surprising that the data showed some scary facts. 2022 was a year of extremes, with many temperature records broken and a continued rise in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere:

  • Summer 2022 was the hottest on record for Europe and, overall, last year was the second warmest year on record for Europe, while globally it was the fifth warmest.
Ranking of 2022 surface air temperatures by country over the period since 1950. Data source: ERA5. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF.
  • Several temperature records were broken both in Europe and across the world, while other extreme events such as drought and flooding affected large regions.
  • Europe saw its hottest summer ever recorded (the previous hottest summer was in 2021) and several prolonged and intense heatwaves affected parts of western and northern Europe.
Credit: Copernicus C3S / ECMWF
  • Autumn was the third warmest on record, only beaten by 2020 and 2006, while winter temperatures were around 1°C above average.
  • Spring temperatures for Europe as a whole were just below the average of the 1991-2020 reference period.
  • In terms of monthly averages, nine months were above average, while three (March, April and September) were below average.
  • The continent experienced its second warmest June ever recorded at about 1.6°C above average and its warmest October, with temperatures nearly 2°C above average.
  • All of Europe, with the exception of Iceland saw annual temperatures above the 1991-2020 average.
  • Globally, during 2022, the world experienced its fifth warmest year on record, according to the C3S ERA5 dataset.
  • Both polar regions saw episodes of record temperatures during 2022.

What is more interesting is that, according to C3S, in 2022 there were the highest CO2 levels in 2 million years.
Preliminary analysis of satellite data averaged over the whole atmospheric column shows that carbon dioxide concentrations rose by approximately 2.1 ppm, while methane rose by around 12 ppb.

Credit: C3S/CAMS/ECMWF/University of Bremen/SRON.

This resulted in an annual average for 2022 of approximately 417 ppm for carbon dioxide and 1894 ppb for methane. For both gases this is the highest concentrations from the satellite record, and by including other records, the highest levels for over 2 million years for carbon dioxide and over 800 000 years for methan.

You can learn more about C3S and its datasets here.

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