Engineering 101

Warming Trend Heats up the Record Books

According to analysis by NASA, Earth’s average temperature in 2022 tied with 2015 as our planet’s warmest on record. Global temps in 2022 were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.89 Celsius) above average for the baseline period, 1951-1980.

NASA uses 1951-1980 temperatures, including climate patterns like La Niña and El Niño, as a baseline to understand how global temperatures change over time. 

“This warming trend is alarming,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Our warming climate is already making a mark: Forest fires are intensifying; hurricanes are getting stronger; droughts are wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising. NASA is deepening our commitment to do our part in addressing climate change. Our Earth System Observatory will provide state-of-the-art data to support our climate modeling, analysis and predictions to help humanity confront our planet’s changing climate.”

The past nine years have been the warmest since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Human-driven greenhouse gas emissions have rebounded following a short-lived dip in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists determined that carbon dioxide emissions were the highest on record in 2022. 

NASA draws its global temperature analysis from data collected by weather stations, Antarctic research stations, and instruments mounted on ships and ocean buoys. Their full dataset of global surface temperatures through 2022, as well as full details with code of how NASA scientists conducted the analysis, are publicly available from GISS.

Watch their video on 2022’s temperature record.

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