The year 2022 was the sixth warmest year since global records began in 1880 at 0.86°C (1.55°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This value is 0.13°C (0.23°F) less than the record set in 2016 and it is only 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than the last year's (2021) value, which now ranks as the seventh highest. The 10 warmest years in the 143-year record have all occurred since 2010, with the last nine years (2014–2022) ranking as the nine warmest years on record. Of note, the year 2005, which was the first year to set a new global temperature record in the 21st century, currently ties with 2013 as the 11th-warmest year on record. The year 2010, which had surpassed 2005 at the time, now ranks as the 10th-warmest year on record.
Similar to 2021, the year 2022 began with a cold phase El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episode, also known as La Niña, that persisted throughout the year. ENSO not only affects global weather patterns, but it also affects global temperatures. As seen in the image below, during the warm phase of ENSO (El Niño), global temperatures tend to be warmer than ENSO-neutral or La Niña years, while global temperatures tend to be slightly cooler during cold phase ENSO episodes (La Niña). Despite the last two years (2021 and 2022) not ranking among the five warmest years on record, the global annual temperature increased at an average rate of 0.08°C (0.14°F) per decade since 1880 and over twice that rate (0.18°C / 0.32°F) since 1981.
During 2022, each monthly global surface temperature ranked among the ten warmest for their respective month. The month with the highest global temperature departure for the year was March at +0.94°C (+1.69°F), while November had the lowest global temperature departure for the year at +0.75°C (+1.35°F).
The 2022 Northern Hemisphere surface temperature was also the sixth highest on record at +1.10°C (+1.98°F). Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere had its seventh-warmest year on record, with a temperature that was 0.61°C (1.10°F) above the 20th century average.
(out of 143 years)
|Land||+1.29 ± 0.14||+2.32 ± 0.25||Warmest||7th||2020||+1.57||+2.83|
|Ocean||+0.69 ± 0.16||+1.24 ± 0.29||Warmest||6th||2016||+0.79||+1.42|
|Land and Ocean||+0.86 ± 0.15||+1.55 ± 0.27||Warmest||6th||2016||+0.99||+1.78|
|Land||+1.46 ± 0.18||+2.63 ± 0.32||Warmest||6th||2020||+1.73||+3.11|
|Ocean||+0.88 ± 0.16||+1.58 ± 0.29||Warmest||5th||2020||+0.98||+1.76|
|Land and Ocean||+1.10 ± 0.15||+1.98 ± 0.27||Warmest||6th||2020||+1.27||+2.29|
|Coolest||138th||1893, 1904, 1907||-0.47||-0.85|
|Land||+0.87 ± 0.11||+1.57 ± 0.20||Warmest||12th||2019||+1.29||+2.32|
|Ocean||+0.56 ± 0.16||+1.01 ± 0.29||Warmest||7th||2016||+0.70||+1.26|
|Land and Ocean||+0.61 ± 0.15||+1.10 ± 0.27||Warmest||7th||2016||+0.77||+1.39|
The 1901–2000 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9°C (57.0°F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5°C (47.3°F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1°C (60.9°F).
Ten Warmest Years (1880–2022)
The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record.
1 = Warmest
Period of Record: 1880–2022
|Year||Anomaly °C||Anomaly °F|
The following information was compiled from previous NCEI monitoring reports, public reports by National Hydrometeorological Services (NHMSs; peers of the U.S. National Weather Service), and WMO's 2022 provisional statement.
The year was characterized by much-warmer-than-average temperatures across much of the globe, with record-high annual temperatures across parts of Europe, southern Asia, the North and southwestern Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic, and southeastern Pacific oceans. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average temperatures were limited to the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, consistent with an episode of La Niña that persisted throughout the year.
North America's annual temperature was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 1910-2000 average and tied with 2011 and 2019 as the 15th-warmest year on record. Temperatures across North America varied throughout the year. Ten of the 12 months had an above-average monthly temperature. The months of June through October ranked among the seven warmest for their respective months, with the months of August and September ranking as the warmest on record. September 2022 was North America's warmest month of the year with a temperature departure of +2.02°C (+3.64°F), while February was North America's coldest month of the year at -0.42°C (-0.76°F). North America's yearly temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great (0.27°C / 0.49°F) since 1981.
- Please see the U.S. national annual report for information on the 2022 climate conditions across the U.S.
- According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, very warm conditions were observed across much of Canada during the Northern Hemisphere summer, resulting in the nation's third warmest summer on record. Only summers of 2012 and 1998 were warmer.
- The Caribbean region had its ninth-warmest year on record. Nine of the 10 warmest years for the region have occurred since 2005.
- The Hawaiian region had its 14th-warmest year on record.
South America's annual temperature was 0.89°C (1.60°F) above average — the 12th-warmest year since regional records began in 1910. This was South America's 46th consecutive year with temperatures above average. Nine of South America's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2012. South America's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14°C (0.25°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is nearly double (0.22°C / 0.40°F) that value since 1981.
South America had monthly temperatures that were above-average during 2022. The months of January and July had a near-record warm month. The month of July had the highest temperature departure of the year at +1.66°C (+2.99°F); meanwhile, May had the smallest temperature departure for the year at +0.27°C (+0.49°F).
- An intense heat wave affected a large portion of Argentina during January. This was Argentina's third heat wave during its Southern Hemisphere summer season. According to Argentina's National Weather Service, the heat wave began on January 6 and culminated after 21 consecutive days of extremely warm temperatures, resulting in over 75 new maximum and minimum temperature records. Of note, the city of Buenos Aires had its highest minimum temperature on January 15 since records began in 1906 when minimum temperatures only dropped to 30°C (86°F). Similarly, unusually warm temperatures affected parts of Uruguay during mid-month. By January 14, Florida, Uruguay had a maximum temperature of 44.0°C (111.2°F), tying the national maximum temperature record set in January 1943.
- Argentina had its warmest November since national records began in 1961 with a national temperature departure of 1.8°C (3.2°F) above the 1981–2010 average.
Europe had above-average monthly temperatures throughout the year, with the highest monthly temperature departure of +3.12°C (+5.62°F) occurring in February. Despite it being the highest monthly temperature for the year, February 2022 ranked as the seventh-warmest February on record. The months of August and October had a temperature departure that ranked as the warmest for respective months. The smallest monthly temperature departure for the year was +0.80°C (+1.44°F) in September.
The year as a whole ranked as the second warmest for Europe, behind the record year of 2020 by 0.23°C (0.41°F). The year 2022 was also the 26th consecutive year with temperatures above average. Europe's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2007. The annual temperature for Europe has increased at an average rate of 0.15°C (0.27°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has tripled to 0.46°C (0.83°F) since 1981.
- The United Kingdom (UK) had its warmest year since national records began in 1884. The UK's yearly temperature of 10.0°C (50.05°F) was 0.1°C (0.2°F) higher than the previous record set in 2014 (9.9°C / 49.8°F). According to the UK's Met Office, the nation's 10 warmest years have all occurred since 2003. Each season ranked among the 10 warmest for their respective seasons. In the UK, a maximum temperature of 40.3°C (104.5°F) was set at Coningsby, Lincolnshire during the month of July — marking the first time in the nation's record that maximum temperatures of 40.0°C (104°F) or higher were set in the UK.
- Ireland's 2022 annual temperature was 10.8°C (51.4°F), making this the highest yearly temperature for the nation since 1900. The year 2022 was also Ireland's 12th consecutive year with temperatures above average.
- Spain also had its warmest year in the nation's 62-year record with an annual mean temperature of 15.3°C (59.5°F), which was 1.6°C (2.9°F) above average. According to Spain's Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, the year 2022 marked the first time an annual temperature surpassed 15.0°C (59.0°F).
- France had its warmest year in the nation's 123-year record. According to Meteo France, eight of France's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2011.
- The Netherlands had its third-warmest year on record.
- With a temperature departure of 1.0°C (1.8°F) above average, Austria's 2022 temperature tied with 2019 as the third warmest year in the nation's 255-year record. Only the years of 2014 and 2018 were warmer for the nation.
- A heat wave affected the Peninsula and Balearic Islands during June 11–18 and, according to Spain's Agencia Estatal de Meteorología. This was the earliest heat wave recorded, equaling records set back in June 1981.
Africa had an annual temperature of +1.01°C (+1.82°F), which is the 10th highest in the continent's 113-year record. Despite being above-average, this value was the smallest annual temperature for Africa since 2014. The year 2022 marked Africa's 46th consecutive year with temperatures above average. Africa's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. Africa's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has more than doubled to 0.28°C (0.50°F) since 1981.
Throughout the year, Africa's monthly temperatures were above average. The months of April, June, September, October, and December ranked among the 10 warmest for their respective months; however, no month had a record warm or record cold temperature for the year. The month with the highest temperature departure in 2022 was December with 1.50°C (2.70°F), while January had the smallest temperature departure at +0.60°C (+1.08°F).
Asia had its second-warmest year on record at +1.80°C (+3.24°F). This value is 0.26°C (0.47°F) less than the record year set in 2020. The year 2022 marked the 35th consecutive year with temperatures above average. Asia's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2007. Asia's trend during the 1910–2022 period was +0.17°C (+0.31°F) per decade; however, the 1981–2022 trend is twice the longer-term trend (+0.37°C / +0.67°F).
Monthly temperatures were 1.0°C (1.8°F) above average or higher during 2022. Each month from January through October ranked among the 10 warmest for each respective month, with the month of April being Asia's warmest April on record at 2.64°C (4.75°F) above average. March and April 2022 had the highest temperature departure in 2022 (+2.64°C / +4.75°F), while December had the smallest temperature departure (+1.00°C / +1.80°F) in 2022.
- A high-pressure system brought unusually warm temperatures to parts of southern Asia during the last few days in April and into early May. The areas most impacted were India and Pakistan, where daily maximum temperatures were over 40.0–C (104.0°F). Several locations across the region set new maximum and minimum temperature records during this timeframe. According to Pakistan's Meteorological Department, Pakistan's hottest day during the month was April 30 when temperatures soared to 49.0°C (120.2°F) at Jacobabad (Sindh). This was a new maximum temperature record for the station, surpassing the previous record set in 2018 by 1.0°C (1.8°F). Karachi Airport had a minimum temperature of 29.4°C (84.9°F) on April 30, also a new record for the location. According to reports, the extremely high temperatures affected crops and the demand for power was the worst in six years.
- According to the Times of India, Delhi, India's capital, had a monthly maximum temperature of 40.2–C (104.4–F) — Delhi's second highest April maximum temperature in the location's 72-year record. Pakistan had its warmest April on record, which extends back to 1961, with a temperature departure of 4.05°C (7.29°F) above average. This was 0.9°C (1.7°F) higher than the now-second highest April temperature set in 2010.
- A heat wave scorched Japan in the middle of its rainy season, marking the worst documented streak of hot weather in June since 1875. The city of Isesaki, which is located in Japan's Gunma prefecture, had a maximum temperature of 40.1°C (104.2°F) on June 25, 2022 — a new national maximum temperature record for June. This also marked the first time Japan had a maximum temperature of 40.0°C (104.0°F) in June and was only 1.0°C (1.8°F) cooler than the all-time record of 41.1°C (106.0°F).
Oceania had an above average yearly temperature departure of +0.73°C (+1.31°F) — the 14th highest in the 113-year record. Nine of Oceania's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The 1910–2022 trend for Oceania was +0.12°C (+0.22°F) per decade; however, the trend is close to twice that during the 1981–2022 period (+0.19°C / +0.34°F per decade).
Each month from January through October had an above-average temperature, with the months of January, March and April ranking among the 10 warmest for their respective months. The month with the highest temperature departure for the year was April (+1.62°C / +2.92°F), while November had the smallest temperature departure for 2022 at 0.60°C (1.08°F) below average. November was the only month in 2022 that had a below average temperature and it ranked as the 20th coldest November on record for Oceania.
- Australia had a yearly temperature that was 0.50°C (0.9°F) above the 1961–1990 average. This value tied as the 22nd-warmest year for Australia since national records began in 1910.
- Australia, as a whole, had an above-average June temperature. During the start of the month, temperatures were between 1.0°–4.0°C (1.8°–7.2°F) above average in the northern region, with several locations setting new daily maximum temperature records for the month. Of note, Bradshaw (Northern Territory) had a maximum temperature of 37.8°C (100.0°F) on June 5 — tying the second-warmest maximum temperature in June for Australia and was only 0.1°C (0.2°F) shy of tying the national record set on June 7, 2016. Meanwhile, the McCluer Island set a new record for the highest minimum temperature for the Northern Territory when minimum temperatures dropped to 28.1°C (82.6°F). This was also the sixth-highest minimum June temperature for Australia. New South Wales was the only Australian region to experience below-average June temperatures and had its coldest maximum June temperatures since 2007.
Unusually warm temperatures affected parts of Antarctica during mid-March, with temperatures at least 22.2°C (40.0°F) warmer than average. According to media reports, several locations set new March temperature records on March 18, 2022. Of note, the Concordia station had a temperature of -12.2°C (10.0°F), which is 38.8°C (70.0°F) above average. Also, according to Severe Weather Europe, Australia's Casey Research Station in Antarctica reported a maximum temperature of 5.6°C (42.1°F) on March 16—the highest March temperature since records began for this station in 1989.
As indicated by the Global Percent of Normal Precipitation and Precipitation Percentiles maps below and as is typical, many stations were wet for the year, while many stations were dry. Also, as discussed below, extreme precipitation and drought events occurred across the world.
Significantly below-average annual precipitation occurred across parts of the southwestern and south-central contiguous U.S., southern Chile, parts of southern and western Europe, and north-central China. Significantly above-average annual precipitation occurred across parts of southern Alaska, the north-central contiguous U.S., northern and eastern Asia, and eastern Australia.
- See the U.S. National Annual Climate and U.S. Annual Drought reports for additional information on drought and notable precipitation extremes across the U.S. during 2022.
- Heavy rain in northern Puerto Rico at the beginning of the month triggered dangerous floods, landslides, downed trees and power lines, forcing authorities to close several main roads. It was reported that up to 152 mm (6 inches) of rain fell within six hours. According to media reports, the town of Toa Alta had the most rain with 406 mm (16 inches) during February 4–6. The city of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital, had a monthly rainfall total of 301 mm (11.85 inches), which is San Juan's wettest February on record and the eighth-wettest month for any month on record, according to data obtained from the San Juan National Weather Service.
- Hurricane Agatha made landfall along the Pacific coast of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane and was the strongest hurricane to hit this region in May since records began in 1950, according to Mexico's CONAGUA. Agatha brought heavy rain to parts of southern and southeastern Mexico, with rainfall totals above 250 mm (9.8 inches) in a 24-hour period. The torrential rains caused dangerous floods in the affected regions.
- Much of northern and central Mexico was in some type of drought, according to the May 31, 2022 North American Drought Monitor. Drought conditions in the northern region have been lingering since the start of the year. However, the lack of precipitation and very warm conditions have only made things worse. Monterrey, a city in northeastern Mexico, was one of the most affected. It was reported that by the end of June, two of its main water dams were at less than 10% capacity. Restrictions on water use have been in place since February 2022.
- In September, Hurricane Fiona caused widespread flooding and power outages in Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean Islands before making its way up the Atlantic coast, where it made landfall in Nova Scotia as the strongest and costliest post-tropical cyclones on record for Canada.
- After knocking out Cuba's power grid, Hurricane Ian regained strength and made landfall in southwestern Florida just shy of Category 5 strength in September, tying the record for fifth-strongest hurricane on record to strike the U.S. Ian brought strong winds, record heavy rain, and catastrophic storm surges across parts of Florida.
- Hurricane Julia made landfall on the eastern coast of Nicaragua on October 8 as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm wreaked havoc across Central America with heavy rain that triggered deadly floods and landslides. Homes and roads were damaged or destroyed.
- In late January, torrential rain fell across parts of Ecuador, with some locations setting new rainfall records. Of note, the municipality of Quito had 75 mm (2.95 inches) of rain in just a short period on January 31 — the highest rainfall amount for this location in 20 years. The heavy rain caused devastating floods that destroyed homes, damaged infrastructures, and swept away cars.
- Colombia had several heavy rain events during April. Of note, on April 2, the copious rainfall triggered a deadly landslide in the Nariño department (western Colombia). The landslide claimed the lives of at least three people and also blocked roads. Similarly, torrential rain prompted floods and landslides in the department of Antioquia (northwestern Colombia). During late April, the department of Cundinamarca (central Colombia) had several days of heavy rain, once again prompting floods and landslides.
- Spain had its third-driest year on record. Only the years of 2005 and 2017 were drier.
- Warm and dry conditions affected much of Europe during the Northern Hemisphere summer, exacerbating drought conditions, fueling severe wildfires, and causing several rivers across the region to be in critically low levels.
- Copious rain fell across parts of Portugal and western and central Spain in mid-December, causing devastating floods that damaged or destroyed roads and homes. It was reported that rainfall totals in the affected areas in Spain were over 90 mm (3.5 inches) in just 24-hours. Lisbon, Portugal, experienced extreme flooding in early December.
- Tropical Storm Ana was the first named storm of the year for the Southwest Indian Ocean basin. On January 24, Ana made landfall in northern Mozambique. According to ReliefWeb, the storm was responsible for destroying over 12,000 homes and damaging over 25 health centers. It was reported that water supply systems, power poles, and roads were also damaged. Heavy rain associated with the storm caused floods, including the flooding of more than 37,000 hectares of crops.
- Tropical Cyclone Gombe was an equivalent Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale when it made landfall in northern Mozambique on March 11, 2022. This was only several weeks after Tropical Storm Ana made landfall in the same region. Gombe brought devastating winds and heavy rain and affected over 100,000 people in the affected regions. It was also reported that over 11,000 homes were either destroyed or severely damaged. Southern Malawi was also affected by the storm, displacing over 100,000 residents in the affected regions.
- During April 9–13, 2022, record-breaking heavy rain fell across parts of southeastern South Africa. Several locations in the KwaZulu-Natal province received at least 304mm (12 inches) of rain during a 24-hour period from April 11–12. To put it in perspective, this amount is about four times the monthly normal precipitation for some of these locations and thus, was the highest 24-hour rain totals in 60 years, according to media reports. The city of Durban was one of the most affected with over 300 fatalities due to deadly floods and landslides. The heavy rain was also responsible for destroying homes, bridges and roads. According to reports, this was the deadliest storm on record for South Africa.
- According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, snowfall fell across parts of northern Japan from late December 2021 to early January 2022, with some locations setting new snowfall records. Of note, Hikone in Shiga Prefecture observed a total of 78 cm (30.7 inches), which is a new 48-hour snowfall record for this location.
- The Bahrain International Airport at the Kingdom of Bahrain had a total of 58 mm (2.3 inches) of precipitation in January, which is a little over triple its monthly average rainfall of 18.1 mm (0.7 inch). This was its sixth wettest January since records began in 1902. According to Bahrain's Meteorological Directorate Climate Section, January 1 had the highest daily precipitation during the month when a total of 36.2 mm (1.4 inches) fell. This was the fifth highest daily total for the airport since 1948.
- Cyclone Emnati impacted Madagascar just days after Cyclone Batsirai and Tropical Storm Dumako — the first time since January 1988 that three storms made landfall in Madagascar in a single month. Emnati brought strong winds and heavy rain to the region. Homes were flooded or damaged and several communities were left without power and water.
- According to the Hong Kong Observatory, a stronger-than-normal winter monsoon affected southern China during February 2022, contributing to wetter and cooler conditions during the month. During February 19–22, rain fell continuously, contributing to Hong Kong's monthly total of 168.5 mm (6.6 inches), which is more than four times the normal monthly value (38.9 mm / 1.5 inches). The January–February 2022 period had an accumulated total of 172.6 mm (6.8 inches)—over two times the normal value of 71.9 mm (2.8 inches).
- In June, torrential rain affected parts of southern and eastern China during the latter half of the month. The heavy downpours prompted the overflow of rivers and devastating floods that forced thousands of people to evacuate the affected areas, damaged over 1,500 homes and over 25 hectares of crops. According to reports, some locations had their highest rainfall totals in 60 years. Meanwhile, during mid-June through August, warm and dry conditions affected parts of central and eastern China, resulting in China's second-driest summer on record. The Yangtze River had its lowest level on record in August.
- Tropical Storm Megi (also known as Agaton) was a tropical storm that made its first landfall in Calicoan Island, Philippines on April 10, 2022 and a second landfall in Basey the following day. The storm brought torrential rain and strong winds and triggered several deadly landslides. The storm was responsible for over 200 fatalities and at least 25.8 million U.S. dollars in damages.
- The Greater Horn region of Africa had below-average rainfall during its rainy season, which resulted in deteriorating drought conditions in the region.
- India's monsoon started earlier and ended later than usual, resulting in above-average rainfall across much of southern Asia throughout the year. Pakistan had devastating floods during the monsoon season, with the months of July and August being the wettest on record for the nation. Bangladesh had its worst floods in 20 years.
- Eastern parts of Australia experienced extreme rain during February 22–March 9, 2022. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, rainfall totals were twice to five times the February average, resulting in the wettest week for several locations since at least 1900. The heavy rain caused significant flooding in the affected areas and was responsible for the overflow of several rivers.
- The Republic of Kiribati (an island in the central Pacific Ocean) was affected by drought, forcing its government to declare a State of Disaster on June 11. According to ReliefWeb, close to 40% of the nation's population was affected by drought. As drought continues to worsen the risk of water contamination, water accessibility, and availability also increases, which can lead to health issues in the island.
Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)
The following analysis is based upon the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Interim Climate Data Record. It is provided courtesy of the GPCP Principal Investigator team at the University of Maryland.
The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly data set is a long-term (1979-present) analysis (Adler et al., 2018) using a combination of satellite and gauge information. An interim GPCP analysis completed within 10 days of the end of the month allows for use in climate monitoring and, in this case, an examination of the completed year (2022).
The continuing La Niña dominates the spatial distribution of precipitation across the globe for 2022 and even the global total for the year in a very similar fashion to the previous year, 2021. This current La Niña started in the Boreal Spring of 2020 and, although there have been variations in intensity (as indicated by values of the Niño 3.4 index) the annual precipitation anomaly patterns have been generally consistent with each other for 2021 and 2022. This consistency has practical considerations in terms of distribution across the globe of floods and landslides on the wet side and drought on the dry side of things.
The annual mean precipitation map for 2022 (Fig. 1, top panel) shows the usual precipitation maxima of the tropics and mid-latitudes and dry zones in the sub-tropics and, of course, generally looks very similar to the long-term climatology (not shown). However, there are significant anomalies for 2022 from that long-term (1979–2021) climatology as seen in the middle panel of Fig. 1. The most intense rainfall anomaly features are the positive and negative areas in the deep tropics along the Equator at the core of La Niña impact in the central Pacific (negative anomaly) and to the west over the Maritime Continent and border between the Pacific and Indian Oceans (positive anomaly). The maximum deviations at the core of these features are greater than ± 3 mm d-1. With La Niña's associated below normal SSTs in the central Pacific Ocean, convection and rainfall are suppressed there. With the east-west oriented Walker circulation shifting longitudinally, enhanced rising motion is centered to the west to go along with the relative descent over the central Pacific negative rainfall anomaly. This relatively subtle change happens, even though the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) still maintains its narrow east-west intense rainfall mean structure across the Pacific along with the broader north-south feature to the west associated with the Asian-Australian monsoon system. Further east positive anomalies dominate the northern part of South America and the Atlantic ITCZ. These features are typical of La Niña conditions in general. This is confirmed by the La Niña composite (Fig. 1, bottom panel) constructed by taking the mean of annual precipitation anomaly fields for the years where the annual mean Niño 3.4 SST index is in the one-third lowest (coolest) part of the range of SST values. For 2022 the Niño 3.4 mean index value is -0.94.
These tropical La Niña features in 2022 helped to fuel frequent flood and landslide conditions, for example, in Indonesia and Malaysia, Indochina, southern India, Pakistan and the southeast quadrant of Australia. Floods and landslides were also more prevalent across northern South America and eastern Brazil related to the typical La Niña features there, but with dry anomalies and drought conditions existing over much of the southern half of South America.
There is an obvious correlation in the pattern of anomaly features for 2022 and those in the composite (which does not include 2022). For example, the spatial correlation between panels b and c of Fig.1 between 40°N and 40°S is +0.72. This spatial agreement can even be seen to extend into the mid-latitude parts of the Pacific Ocean in both hemispheres. Stretching southeastward from the anomaly couplet in the tropical western Pacific, anomaly features extend to 60°S with the dry zone reaching the southern tip of South America, with the adjacent positive anomaly reaching the Straits of Magellan. These features showing up in both in 2022 and the composite anomaly fields indicate the long-distance influence of the central Pacific Ocean SST conditions.
The Indian Ocean also reflects the La Niña effect with positive anomalies in the east and dry conditions in the west, extending over the Horn of Africa and southward through eastern Africa, but with positive anomalies over South Africa. The dry features over Somalia and southward have led to a multi-year severe drought in these areas and even power cuts in Zambia due to low water in power-generating dams. In the La Niña composite Australia is covered with above average precipitation, but the corresponding feature for 2022 only covers most of the country, but is reflective of the prevalence of floods in the southeast.
Over North America the La Niña composite has a dry feature over the eastern Pacific extending across all the southern U.S. states with a positive anomaly across Canada; however, although the pattern for 2022 has a corresponding feature in the eastern Pacific, over the continent things are somewhat different, with drier than normal conditions over most of the central and eastern part of the continent, even associated with low flow in the Mississippi River, but varied conditions to the north, with wetter than normal conditions in Alaska. For 2022 the general ongoing drought in the western part of the U.S. was weakened in some areas in opposition to the usual effect of La Niña. The Hawaiian Islands have also experienced weak drought conditions in 2022 and that agrees with the anomaly pattern for the 2022, which might have some association with La Niña, although in that part of the Pacific the La Niña composite is spatially very variable. The 2022 pattern across the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic north of the ITCZ also is not typical of La Niña, which usually is associated with increased hurricane activity, but remained relatively dry this year.
To the east of North America, the Atlantic Ocean is covered with a large area of below average precipitation for the year, roughly in agreement with the La Niña composite. That negative feature for 2022 extends into western Europe and is associated with the major drought ongoing over that area. Although the composite is relatively weak there, it still seems to be of the same sign as this year's precipitation deficit and may indicate a distant extent of La Niña's effect.
Fig. 2 shows the anomaly patterns for the three-month intervals during 2022 having a high degree of consistency during the year, especially across the tropical Pacific belt and beyond to the east and west. Variations during the year are noted in the intense positive anomaly for the summer in southern Pakistan and India, the strong dry anomaly over the Horn of Africa during its rainy season in Spring and a wet/dry variation over South China during the year.
The estimated mean global precipitation for 2022 is estimated from the GPCP Monthly analyses as 2.67 mm d-1, just below (-.02 mm d-1) the 40-year climatological mean of 2.69. The mean values for ocean and land are 2.85 (-.05) and 2.30 (+.05) mm d-1, respectively. This kind of distribution with the positive anomaly over land and negative anomaly over ocean is typical of La Niña. The global total (land plus ocean) being slightly below average is also typical of La Niña conditions and reflects the slightly reduced ocean temperatures affecting ocean evaporation. More detail on trends in global and regional precipitation and comparison climate models is available in Gu and Adler (2022).
One key large-scale planetary trend that is extended with the 2022 data is the deep tropics (0-10°N, land plus ocean) increasing and sub-tropics (30-40°N, land plus ocean) decreasing (Fig. 3). This is a definite indication of wet-getting-wetter and dry-getting drier climate change at a large scale as the mean values in these two bands are different by about a factor of two, with the larger value at the lower latitude. The year 2022 contributes to this trend, but is not the maximum value in the difference or gradient calculation (4 th biggest of the entire period). The La Niña years (e.g., 2021, 2022) tend to have smaller deep tropic numbers, for example, compared to 2015, dominated by El Niño conditions.
NOAA and NASA satellites monitor drought across all of the continents of the world, with the agricultural areas of many continents severely impacted by drought in 2022. The global precipitation, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, groundwater, and vegetative health tools created from this satellite data are presented in the Global Drought Information System's (GDIS) Global Drought Monitor housed at NCEI. The year began drier than normal across parts of southern Europe, with the Iberian Peninsula in the midst of a prolonged dry spell that had lasted at that point for much of 2021. Drier-than-normal conditions developed across most of Europe during March 2022 and recurred across parts of Europe throughout the summer and fall. Temperatures were above normal across most to all of the continent in January and February, but excessive heat dominated the continent from May to August, resulting in extreme evapotranspiration that exacerbated the dry conditions. Above-normal temperatures returned in October and November.
The combination of below-normal precipitation and hot conditions dried out soils, lowered streamflow and groundwater, and desiccated crops and other vegetation. Europe had the warmest February–August, June–November, and October–November, with January–November 2022 ranking as the second warmest such 11-month period in NCEI's 113-year global temperature record. In Australia, 2022 began with dry soils in the western fourth of the continent. Drier- and warmer-than-normal conditions in austral fall (March–May) dried out soils in northern areas, but above-normal conditions during austral spring (September–November) reduced precipitation deficits and improved soil moisture conditions across most of the continent. By the end of 2022, Australia was the only continent not experiencing areas of severe drought. Drier- and warmer-than-normal conditions occurred in various parts of Asia at various times during the year, but two regions stand out in terms of drought impact. Parts of Southwest Asia were dry during most months in 2022, with dry conditions during much of the last three years lowering groundwater levels and ravaging crops. Dry conditions in southwestern parts of China during August 2022 prompted the country to issue its first national drought alert of the year as authorities battled forest fires and crops were damaged by high temperatures and evapotranspiration.
Drought shifted east during September, lowering soil moisture and groundwater levels in southeastern China where high evapotranspiration rates damaged crops; these conditions persisted through the fall. In Africa, the Sahel region and much of East Africa were dry for the last three to four years. The persistent dryness and high temperatures/evapotranspiration in 2022 depleted soil moisture, lowered groundwater, and desiccated vegetation. With 2022, East Africa experienced four consecutive failed rainy seasons, a climatic event not seen in at least 40 years that created what the United Nations deemed a humanitarian emergency as more than 23 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya were faced with severe hunger/famine. In South America, drought stretched from Peru and central and southern Brazil to the agricultural lands of Argentina, with 2022 marking the second year of dry conditions in many of these areas. Satellite-based data revealed low groundwater, dry soils, and poor vegetative health. Rain fell across some of the drought areas during some months of 2022, but it was not enough to erase deficits that built up over 12 to 24 months. Temperatures were frequently above normal, enhancing evapotranspiration that added to the stress on crops in Argentina and Uruguay.
During 2022, North America endured its warmest July-October in NCEI's 1910–2022 historical record. The excessive heat increased evapotranspiration that ravaged crops in drought-stricken western and central areas of the U.S., the Prairies of Canada, and parts of Mexico. Portions of the southern Prairies have been in drought since the summer of 2020, but excessively dry conditions during July–October 2022 expanded drought across much of western Canada. Much of the western U.S. has been in drought since the summer of 2020, but parts of the southwestern U.S. (the Four Corners states) have had drought since 2017. A very dry start to the 2022 wet season in Mexico expanded drought across the central and northern areas during the spring and early summer, before late summer and fall rain prompted contraction.
Ocean Heat Content
Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is essential for understanding and modeling global climate since > 90% of excess heat in the Earth's system is absorbed by the ocean. Further, expansion due to increased ocean heat contributes to sea level rise. Change in OHC is calculated from the difference of observed temperature profiles from the long-term mean.
|Basin||0-700 meters | Rank (1955-2022)|
|Entire Basin||Northern Hemisphere||Southern Hemisphere|
|Source: Basin time series of heat content|
The annual global ocean heat content (OHC) for 2022 for the upper 2000 meters was record high, surpassing the previous record set in 2021. The four highest OHC have all occurred in the last four years (2019–2022). The regions of the North Pacific, North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and southern oceans also had their highest OHC since the 1950s.
The ocean heating is irrefutable and a key measure of the Earth's energy imbalance: the excess greenhouse gases in the air trap more heat inside the climate system and drives global warming. More than 90% of the heat accumulates in the ocean because of its large heat capacity, and the other heating is manifested in warming the atmosphere, warming and drying land, and melting land and sea ice. There are no reasonable alternatives aside from the human emissions of heat-trapping gases (IPCC 2001, 2007, 2013, 2020; USGCRP 2017).
For additional information on the 2022 OHC, please see the paper titled Another Year of Record Heat for the Oceans (Cheng et al., 2023).
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