17 January 2022
Two American agencies have released data showing that 2021 was the world's sixth warmest year on record.
The data was collected by the U.S. space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The recently released measurements also showed that the last eight years were the eight hottest on record. And the last 10 years were the warmest since record-keeping began in 1880.
Russell Vose is a chief researcher at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. He told reporters the data shows that it is warmer now than at any time during "at least the past 2,000 years, and probably much longer."
Vose added there was a 99 percent chance that 2022 will be among the 10 warmest years on record, and a 10 percent chance that it will be the hottest on record.
The measurements showed that world temperatures – averaged over a 10-year period – are nearly 2 degrees hotter than 140 years ago.
Scientists say the effects of La Nina kept world temperatures lower. La Nina is a weather pattern that happens in the Pacific Ocean but affects weather around the world. A La Nina event happens when ocean surface waters cool along the Pacific coast of the South American tropics. This takes place about every two to seven years.
Gavin Schmidt is a climate scientist who heads NASA's temperature team. He told reporters the latest data confirms that the world's long-term warming trend "is very, very clear."
He added that the hotter temperatures are linked to human causes. "It's because of us," Schmidt said. "And it's not going to go away until we stop increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."
The non-profit climate research organization Berkeley Earth estimates that in 2021, 1.8 billion people in 25 Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations had their hottest years on record. This included China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Myanmar and South Korea.
Another recent study found that the deep ocean – where most heat is stored in the seas – also set a record for warmth in 2021.
The measurements by NASA and NOAA showed that the last time Earth had a cooler than normal year was in 1976. That means that 69 percent of the people on the planet – more than 5 billion people under age 45 – have never experienced such a year, United Nations data shows.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press and Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for VOA Learning English.
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Words in This Story
pattern – n. something that happens in a regular or repeated way
tropics – n. (pl.) parts of the world that are near the equator and, therefore, are usually warm
trend – n. a general development or change in a situation