2021: fifth hottest year in the world

Through Cyrille DUCHESNE, meteorologist

The European Copernicus Agency, which studies climate change on a global scale, has just published its report on the evolution of surface temperatures and greenhouse gas concentrations for 2021. Their analysis highlights the continuation of the global warming and increasing concentrations of CO2 and methane, the main greenhouse gases.

The year 2021 is in 5th place of the hottest years since 1850. Despite a temperature level pulled down by the La Niña phenomenon, 2021 records a temperature excess of around + 1.16 ° C compared to the 1850-1900 average, the pre-industrial period which serves as a benchmark.

Since 1850, 2016 has been the hottest year (+ 1.32 ° C), just ahead of 2020 (+ 1.31 ° C), 2019 (+ 1.28 ° C), 2017 (+ 1.22 ° C) and 2021 (+ 1.16 ° C). Globally, the past seven years have been the hottest.

Several significant events in 2021 bear the mark of global warming

– April: late frost in Western Europe after a record heat peak at the end of March

– June: exceptional heat wave in the USA and Canada with June ranked 1st among the hottest in North America.

– July: torrential rains and floods in Central Europe (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg)

– July-August: heatwave in south-eastern Europe with a record temperature of 48.8 ° C in Sicily, and fires.

– Summer: intense forest fires in the USA and Canada, exacerbated by hot and dry weather conditions. Extensive forest fires also on the Siberian side.

2021: 20ᵉ hottest year since 1900 in France

In France, the year 2021 marks time compared to previous years. The year 2020 was also the hottest on record with an average temperature of 14 ° C. In 2021, the average temperature was 12.9 ° C with an excess of temperature compared to the 1981-2010 normal which does not exceed + 0.3 ° C.

Note that for the first time in six years, France has not experienced a general heatwave with several months showing temperatures slightly below normal.

Greenhouse gas concentrations that continue to increase

Satellite measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations continued to increase in 2021. CO2 levels even reached a world record of around 414 ppm (average concentration of carbon dioxide measured in parts per million) . The same situation applies to the concentration of methane (CH4), which reached a record at 1876 ppb (average concentration of methane measured in parts per billion).

Limiting warming to + 1.5 ° C by the end of the century, set by the Paris Agreement in 2015, therefore seems difficult to achieve with greenhouse gas concentrations that still cannot reach. change at the global level.


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