The 2020-2022 La Nina events temporarily cooled temperatures, but 2021 was one of the seven warmest recorded years, and Canada logged a Sahara Desert-like temperature of 50 C, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The WMO said in a statement on Tuesday that consolidated global warming and other long-term climate change trends are expected to continue due to record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“Back-to-back La Nina events mean that 2021 warming was relatively less pronounced compared to recent years. Even so, 2021 was still warmer than previous years influenced by La Nina,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
La Nina refers to the extensive cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, coupled with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation.
It usually has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Nino.
Taalas said the overall long-term warming because of greenhouse gas increases is far more extensive than the year-to-year variability in global average temperatures caused by naturally occurring climate drivers.
The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 (plus/minus 0.13) C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels.