January 23, 2022

the year 2021 was less hot than the previous ones but marked by anomalies in France

Climate change has given such a habit of a series of records and extremes that a year that stood out less from the crowd seems almost surprising. This is the feeling that predominates when reading the meteorological report for the year 2021 in France, of which Météo France publishes a provisional version, Wednesday December 15 – it will be finalized in January 2022. It emerges that 2021 should be classified as the 21e hottest year since 1900. Far behind 2020, hottest year on record.

With an anomaly of + 0.2 ° C compared to the period 1981-2010, 2021 therefore remains warmer than normal, but less than the previous seven years. This is explained firstly because France has experienced the passage of many cold air masses. Then because the first semester, at the global level, was marked by the La Niña phenomenon, a cooling of the surface water of the eastern equatorial Pacific which decreases the global temperature of the planet. This phenomenon is back for a few weeks and is expected to last until the first quarter of 2022.

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Multiplication of extreme events

“This classification does not change the underlying trend of global warming”, warns Matthieu Sorel, climatologist at Météo France, recalling that France has already warmed by 2 ° C since 1961-1990. “The natural variability of the climate modulates the effect of warming: it can lead to cooling in certain years or in certain regions., recalls climatologist Christophe Cassou, research director at CNRS. This year, it masked the warming trend in France, while last year it amplified it. “If climate change does not prevent cold spells from occurring, it decreases the likelihood of them”, he adds.

Globally, 2021 is expected to rank as the fifth, if not sixth or seventh hottest year and the past seven years are set to become the hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Temperature records have been broken in Canada (49.6 ° C) or in Death Valley in California (54.4 ° C), and extreme events have multiplied: catastrophic floods and precipitation, heat waves and fires. “It is striking to see that we have reached very high global temperature levels despite La Niña., explains Christophe Cassou. Globally, 2021 is the hottest year on record with a La Niña episode. “

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