Last year fifth or sixth hottest ever: WMO

Last year was the fifth or sixth hottest on record, depending on the data set, the World Meteorological Organisation says in a report.

The result means that it is among the eight hottest on record, all of which were in the years after 2014.

The trend of rising temperatures will continue, the WMO said, because there are record amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The consequences are becoming more and more apparent, the agency added.

The agency did not settle on 2022's ranking as the differences between individual years are often so small that it is difficult to rank them accurately.

The WMO evaluated six data sets for the calculation.

In some, 2022 landed in fifth place, in others in sixth.

With a 1.15C temperature rise compared to pre-industrial temperatures, 2022 did not beat 2016's record 1.3-degree increase.

These levels are compared to temperatures during the pre-industrial era of 1850-1900.

That 2022 did not break the 2016 record was likely due to the La Nina weather phenomenon, which has a cooling effect, according to the WMO.

La Nina involves changes in air and water flow in and over the Pacific Ocean.

Unusually, this winter is the third consecutive winter with La Nina effects, which are 60 per cent likely to continue through March, the WMO said.

In contrast, 2016 was dominated by La Nina's counterpart, El Nino, which tends to contribute to higher global average temperatures.

In the 10-year average from 2013 to 2022, the global average temperature was 1.14C above pre-industrial levels.

In the 10 years from 2011 to 2020, it was 1.09C, the WMO reported.

WMO chief Petteri Taalas pointed to a difficult outlook, with record heat in 2022 in China, Europe, South Asia, and North and South America, among other places, and the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa.

Heat and droughts have always existed but analysts say climate change is contributing to weather extremes becoming more severe and more frequent.