Laser Talk: World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate, Earth Day 2023

Laser Talk: World Meteorological Organization’s State of the Global Climate, Earth Day 2023

On April 22, 2023, the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) released its analysis looking at the most recent climate change events, including 2020, 2021, and 2022. Here are the ‘highlights’

  • All years 2015 – 2022 globally were the warmest since 1850. The year 2022 was about 1.15 C warmer than the average annual reference period (1850-1900)
  • Over land, record high annual temperatures were reported in Western Europe (where a number of countries had their warmest year on record, including the UK, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany and Switzerland), the western Mediterranean, parts of Central and Eastern Asia, and New Zealand. Over the ocean, record warmth extended across wide areas of the North and South Pacific as well as areas of the Southern Ocean.
  • Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration, following emissions, of all three gases CO2, CH4 and N2O were the highest in 2021 since measurements started – and 2022 confirms this trend. CH4 atmospheric increase was the highest in last two years.
  • Antarctic sea ice level was the lowest on record in 2022, European glaciers saw the highest melting rates in summer 2022.
  • For the 26th year in a row, terrestrial Arctic ice was reduced by about 85 Gt (billion tons) in the period of September 2021 to August 2022.
  • Five consecutive years of drought in East Africa where rainfall has been below average in five consecutive wet seasons, the longest such sequence in 40 years threatens food security. And in conjunction with other factors such as armed conflict, as of August 2022, an estimated 37 million people faced acute food insecurity across the region.
  • As of 2021, 2.3 billion people faced food insecurity, of whom 924 million faced severe food insecurity. Projections estimated that 767.9 million were people facing undernourishment in 2021, or 9.8% of the global population. Half of the 767.9 million are in Asia. Rising undernourishment has been exacerbated by the compounded effects of hydrometeorological hazards and COVID-19 on health, food security, incomes and equality, as well as the effects of protracted conflicts and violence.
  • Extensive flooding in Pakistan caused by severe rainfall in July and August last year killed over 1,700 people, while some 33 million were affected. WMO highlights that total damage and economic losses were assessed at $30 billion, and that by October 2022, around 8 million people had been internally displaced by the floods.
  • Hazardous climate and weather-related events “worsened conditions” for many of the 95 million people already living in displacement.
  • Sea level and ocean heat are at record levels – and this trend will continue for many centuries
  • The rate of global mean sea level rise has doubled between the first decade of the satellite record (1993–2002, 2.27 mm per year) and this decade (2013–2022, 4.62 mm per year), resulting from both terrestrial ice melting and ocean warming.
  • Record-breaking heatwaves affected China and Europe during the summer. In some areas, extreme heat was coupled with exceptionally dry conditions. Excess deaths associated with the heat in Europe exceeded 15 000 in total across Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Portugal.


Summary courtesy of Dr. Stephan Singer
Senior Climate Science and Global Energy Policy Advisor
Climate Action Network International

Human, economic, environmental toll of climate change on the rise: WMO | UN News  State of the Global Climate 2022 (WMO-No. 1316) | E-Library doc_num.php ( State of the Global Climate in 2022 | World Meteorological Organization (

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