Last year was among the hottest ever recorded on the planet, and the oceans’ temperature reached a historic high — yet another sign of the worsening climate crisis caused by humans.
In a report released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists found that 2021 was the sixth-warmest year on record. Overall, the past eight years have been the hottest years since record-keeping began in 1880, according to a similar analysis released Thursday by NASA.
Earth’s average land and ocean surface temperature was 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.
And temperatures in the world’s oceans reached a record high. High ocean heat can contribute to sea-level rise, NOAA said, and cause more-severe storms and floods.
“Science leaves no room for doubt: Climate change is the existential threat of our time,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said in a news release. The year-after-year temperature highs for the planet “[underscore] the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country – and all of humanity,” he said.
NASA’s scientists pointed clearly to the cause of the worsening climate crisis: “human activities that have increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”
Global warming fuels deadly climate disasters, including intense droughts, extreme heat, worsening wildfires and more-powerful storms and floods.
In 2021, Earth experienced the hottest July ever (again), the largest-ever single wildfire in California history (again), and deadly hurricanes and flooding along the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic coast in the U.S. (again).