Nearly 25% of the world’s population experienced record heat in 2021, study says

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Climate issues and questions about how humanity is altering the dynamics of the planet take place in the midst of changes never seen before.

A report by California-based research organization Berkeley Earth showed that 2021 was nominally the sixth hottest year on Earth since 1850.

Researchers estimate that about 1.8 billion people had a record annual temperature average in 2021.

The research also showed that, while not the year’s temperature at record highs, about 8.3% of the Earth’s surface had a locally warm record annual average in 2021.

These areas are located in large population centers. While it was only the sixth warmest year overall, some territories recorded warm annual averages in 2021, including China, South Korea and Nigeria.

Scientists believe that a persistent La Niña event has reduced temperatures a bit compared to previous years.

Overall, the long-term trend, the research says, remains consistent with an ongoing pattern of global warming.

Average earth temperature in 2021

2021 was nominally the fifth warmest year observed and effectively tied with 2015. This is significantly cooler than 2020, which was the warmest year on earth.

The mean Earth temperature was 1.70°C — 0.04°C above the mean temperature from 1850 to 1900.

Global warming, caused by greenhouse gases, has caused the planet’s temperature to rise, and is widely distributed, affecting almost all land and ocean areas, according to the report.

Research shows that in 2021, 87% of the Earth’s surface was significantly warmer than the average temperature during 1951-1980.

The year was unusual, June was an extremely hot month for several countries in the northern hemisphere. There were at least 486 deaths recorded in the Canadian province of British Columbia and temperatures reached almost 50°C. In the United States, a heat wave warped highways and melted power lines.

Some European countries faced environmental fires and floods that were unusual for the region.

The year 2021 also saw a level of warming in the Arctic that exceeds the average rate of warming of the Earth. The researchers wrote that this is a process known as Arctic amplification.

“By melting sea ice and decreasing snow cover, warming in arctic regions causes more sunlight to be absorbed, which allows for even more warming,” they wrote.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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