Berkeley, Calif. — Berkeley Earth today released its Global Temperature Report for 2022, concluding that the year was nominally the fifth warmest on Earth since 1850 based on land and ocean data, with an estimated 850 million people experiencing local record warm annual average temperatures.
Given the uncertainties associated with temperature measurements, 2022 and 2015 are essentially tied, making 2022 consistent with either the fifth or sixth warmest year. The global mean temperature in 2022 is estimated to have been 1.24 °C (2.24 °F) above the average temperature from 1850-1900. The last eight years have been the eight warmest years observed in the instrumental record.
In 2021 and 2022, a persistent La Niña event has reduced temperatures somewhat compared to years without a La Niña event. Overall, the long-term trend remains consistent with an ongoing pattern of global warming. Other organizations examining 2022 temperatures may report similar results, though there are occasionally minor differences in the overall rankings. Berkeley Earth’s methodology incorporates the largest number of global temperature observations, resulting in a more thorough and accurate picture of global warming trends.
“Twenty-eight countries experienced their warmest annual average since record-keeping began, including most of Western Europe,” said Berkeley Earth Lead Scientist Dr. Robert Rohde. “This means a substantial fraction of the world’s population has just lived through the warmest year in their local history — with disruptive and sometimes even deadly consequences.”
Governments in Europe attributed more than 26,000 deaths to summer heat waves, though this may be an underestimate as 53,000 excess deaths were reported in July alone. The summer heat waves included the first ever 40 °C (104 °F) day in the UK, a milestone that would be virtually impossible without global warming and was also met with an outbreak of wildfires.
The associated summer drought was one of the worst in Europe during the last 500 years. Warm weather in Europe continued all the way into winter, and has resulted in unusually low levels of snow in the Alps.
Some notable highlights for 2022 include:
- New national record high annual averages for 28 countries, including the UK, Spain, France, Germany, New Zealand, and China;
- Record warmth in Western Europe, including the first ever 40 °C day in the United Kingdom;
- Ongoing long-lived La Nina event, providing a extended period of slightly reduced temperatures;
- Droughts affecting Europe, China, and U.S. Southwest. Floods in Pakistan;
- Nominally the 7th warmest year on land and the 6th warmest year in the oceans.
“At the current rate of progression, the increase in Earth’s long-term average temperature will reach 1.5°C (2.7 °F) above the 1850-1900 average by about 2034, and 2 °C (3.6 °F) will be reached around 2060,” Dr. Rohde said. “The increasing abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activities is the direct cause of this recent global warming. If the Paris Agreement’s goal of no more than 2°C (3.6 °F) warming is to be reached, significant progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions needs to be made soon.”
The California-based nonprofit research organization, founded by Elizabeth and Richard Muller in 2013 to address skepticism around global warming, is the world’s only non-governmental source of independent climate change and air pollution data.
Based on historical variability and current conditions, it is possible to roughly estimate what global mean temperature might be expected in 2023. Berkeley Earth’s current estimate is that 2023 is likely to be similar to 2022 or slightly warmer. One caveat to note: Even if there are slight year-to-year natural cooling fluctuations, over the long-term temperatures are expected to continue along a warming trend.
Given the significant variability observed in regional warming patterns, Berkeley Earth will be releasing an updated high-resolution data set in 2023, allowing for improved analysis of local and regional warming trends.
“The variability of the local impact of climate change in 2022 speaks to the need for more local data and analysis,” said Berkeley Earth Co-Founder and Board Chair Elizabeth Muller. “The high-resolution dataset that we will be releasing soon is the next step in providing information that helps the world’s climate stakeholders better understand the impacts on their communities.”
The full report is available at https://berkeleyearth.org/global-temperature-report-for-2022
For local warming trends, visit https://berkeleyearth.org/policy-insights/ to use the Berkeley Earth Policy Insights page to use the country-level warming trend and projections tool.
About Berkeley Earth
Open-source from the outset, Berkeley Earth’s data sets are differentiated by a more flexible, inclusive approach for analyzing temperature observations, allowing us to incorporate data from a greater number of the world’s temperature stations. Created around our values of independence, impartiality, scientific excellence, and open-source science, our unique handling of interpolation and systematic biases helps to ensure the most detailed picture of climate change. Trusted by the UN IPCC in its 2018, 2019, and 2021 reports on climate change, and cited in more than 1,800 scholarly and academic papers, our surface temperature data sets are foundational to research, policy, and education. We continue to update our data sets monthly, ensuring open-source access to the highest-quality global temperature data.