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2022 was fifth-warmest year on record, NASA says

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Declining water levels due to climate change and 20 years of ongoing drought have reshaped Lake Mead's shorelines. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Declining water levels due to climate change and 20 years of ongoing drought have reshaped Lake Mead’s shorelines. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) — Global warming remained prevalent in 2022 with the Earth’s average surface temperature reaching the fifth-warmest mark on record, NASA reported Thursday.

The average global temperature was 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above average, tying with 2015 as the fifth-warmest year, according to the report.

“This warming trend is alarming,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“Our warming climate is already making a mark: Forest fires are intensifying; hurricanes are getting stronger; droughts are wreaking havoc and sea levels are rising.”

NASA said the last nine years represent the warmest years recorded since modern record keeping began in 1880. The greatest level of warming is being experienced in the Arctic circle, where average temperatures have quadrupled.

NASA’s baseline temperature is derived from data from 1951 to 1980. The global temperature report comes from researchers at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

Evidence of global warming is strongly tied to greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity. Though these emissions dropped sharply in 2020, as much of the world sheltered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA said emissions have rebounded to the status quo since.

A study published in the journal Science on Thursday indicates that energy company ExxonMobil actively downplayed the effects of climate change driven by human activity despite its own research accurately projecting warming trends decades ago.

The report said ExxonMobil and other major fossil fuel companies downplayed the effects of global warming and its connection to the industry, claiming causation could not be proven.

The study led by Geoffrey Supran, a researcher at Harvard University, analyzed 32 internal documents from ExxonMobil produced by its own scientists from 1977 to 2002, along with 72 peer-reviewed publications co-authored by ExxonMobil.

“ExxonMobil had their own internal models that projected warming trajectories consistent with those forecast by the independent academic and government models,” the report said.

“What they understood about climate models thus contradicted what they led the public to believe.”

Supran and his fellow researchers said Exxon executives have ignored warnings from its scientists about “potentially catastrophic” consequences to its activities since 1977.

“The reason for the warming trend is that human activities continue to pump enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and the long-term planetary impacts will also continue,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS.

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