January 10. The last seven years have been the seven warmest on record for the planet, new data shows, as Earth’s temperature continues its precarious climb due to heat-trapping fossil fuel emissions.
A new analysis by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which tracks global temperature and other climate indicators, found 2021 was the fifth-warmest year on record.
Though the long-term trend is up, yearly fluctuations in global temperature are expected, mainly because of large-scale weather and ocean patterns like El Niño and La Niña, the latter of which was present in 2021 and tends to lead to cooler global temperature.
Earth’s average temperature is around 1.1 degrees Celsius above average pre-industrial levels, Copernicus reports, 73% of the way to the 1.5-degree threshold scientists warn the planet must stay under to avoid the worst impacts.