A recent IPCC report had issued a strong warning about an impending climate crisis, attributing rising wildfires, heatwaves, extreme rainfall and floods to human activity. The report advised deep cuts to CO 2 emissions, failing which the rising temperatures will lead to permanent damage. Data show that July 2021 was the hottest July in the last 142 years for which data are available. And the temperature rise is not limited to a region — every continent has recorded peak levels in the last 10 years. Asia recorded its warmest ever July in 2021.
The global surface temperature in July 2021 was 0.93°C more than the 20th century (1901-2000) average of 15.8°C. It is the highest deviation from the average for any July in the past 142 years. In the Julys of 2016, 2019 and 2020, it had deviated to 0.92°C from the average. Nine of the 10 warmest Julys ever have been recorded since 2010. The chart shows the temperature change in July from the 20th century average.
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A warmer year
The first table lists the deviation in global surface temperature from the 1901-2000 average for various periods in 2021. For instance, in June-July 2021, the global surface temperature was 0.91°C more than the 1901-2000 average for the same period — the fourth-highest deviation for the period since 1880.
The second table shows the extent to which different regions were warmer in June and July this year compared to the 20th century average for the same months. The deviation in Asia's global surface temperature in July 2021 compared to the 20th century average for the month was the highest for any July since 1880. Similarly, it was the second-highest for any June since 1880.
The chart depicts the future greenhouse gas emissions scenarios if no climate policies were implemented, if current policies continue, if all countries achieve their pledges for emissions reductions, and the necessary pathways which are compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C or 2°C of warming this century.
If all countries abandon their climate change policies, the global surface temperature is estimated to increase by 4.1-4.8°C by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
If current climate change policies continue as they are, the global surface temperature is estimated to increase by 2.7-3.1°C by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
If all countries adhere to Paris Agreement pledges and targets for emissions reductions, the global surface temperature is estimated to increase by 2.4°C by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels.
The figure shows the number of years in which extreme temperature events are projected to occur in a 10-year period under different global warming levels compared to the average temperature recorded between 1850-1900 without human influence. Each dot represents a year, and a darker dot depicts a year that could have higher than average temperatures. For instance, in the 1850-1900 period, one year on average in a decade recorded higher than average temperatures. Under current warming levels, nearly three years in a decade are likely to have high temperatures. If warming levels touch the 2°C mark, over five years in a 10-year period could have higher than normal temperatures.