According to data from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2021 was the fifth-hottest year on record, with temperatures over 1.2 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial norm. The findings showed that the last seven years have been the warmest on record, attributable to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, which reached new highs last year.
Various regions have been hit by severe weather over the past years. "With the hottest summer in Europe, heatwaves in the Mediterranean, and unprecedented high temperatures in North America, 2021 was again another year of extreme temperatures," stated Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service. "These tragedies serve as a clear warning that we must change our habits, take bold and effective actions toward a sustainable society, and fight to reduce net carbon emissions."
The West Coast of the United States, northeastern Canada, Greenland, and some regions in north Africa and the Middle East had the most above-average temperatures. The coldest temperatures were recorded in Alaska, Australia, Antarctica, partial areas of Siberia, and much of the Pacific Ocean.
According to a preliminary analysis of satellite data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service and Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, carbon dioxide concentrations reached 414 ppm in 2021, while methane concentrations, a more potent but shorter-lived heat-trapping gas, reached 1876 ppb, the highest levels ever recorded. Wildfires were a major source of carbon pollution, notably in Siberia.