Greenhouse Gas And Sea Levels Hit Record Highs in 2021, Scientists Report

Waves breaking over Cornwall village

Rising seas threaten coastal communities. (Peter Cade/Stone/Getty Images)

Earth’s concentration of greenhouse gases and sea levels hit new highs in 2021, a US government report said Wednesday, showing that climate change keeps surging ahead despite efforts to curb emissions.

“The data presented in this report are clear – we continue to see more compelling scientific evidence that climate change has global impacts and shows no sign of slowing,” said Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The rise in greenhouse gas levels comes despite an easing of fossil fuel emissions the previous year as much of the global economy slowed sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US agency said that the concentration of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere stood at 414.7 parts per million in 2021, 2.3 parts higher than in 2020.

The level is “the highest in at least the last million years based on paleoclimatic records,” the annual State of the Climate report found.

The planet’s sea levels rose for the 10th straight year, reaching a new record of 3.8 inches (97 millimeters) above the average in 1993 when satellite measurements began.

Last year was among the six warmest on record since the mid-19th century, with the last seven years all the seven hottest years on record, it said.

The number of tropical storms were also well above average last year including Typhoon Rai, which killed nearly 400 people in the Philippines in December, and Ida, which swept the Caribbean before becoming the second strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana after Katrina.

© Agence France-Presse