WEST MICHIGAN — The planet continues to follow a warming trend, according to NOAA scientists. The year 2022 has tied 2015 as the fifth-hottest year on record.
Earth's average land and ocean surface temperature last year was 1.55 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
"One of the things that at NASA we're most concerned with is, it's not so much a temperature year to year, because a lot of things can change. Weather can change, just normally. But the trend ... the long-term trend is that we see temperatures continuing to go up," said Michelle Thaller, NASA scientist.
2022 also marked the 46th consecutive year with global temperatures rising above the 20th-century average.
Thaller says the last nine years have been among the top 10 warmest on record.
"It's also interesting that this year was a La Niña year, which means that the ocean currents were a little bit cooler; that actually creates sort of cooler average temperatures around the world. So even though we had a natural cooling effect this year, we were still the fifth-hottest year ever," said Thaller.
A little closer to home, Grand Rapids' average temperature for last year totaled 48.9 degrees F, which is below the global average, and doesn't rank in the top 10 of warmest years on record locally.
However, both 2020 and 2021 were ranked in the top 10. Climate scientists agree that the largest contributor to this trend of rising global temperatures is human greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions hit a new record high last year, according to NASA.
Small changes won't stop climate change, but taking action is still worthwhile. Experts say minimizing food waste, buying sustainable clothing and weatherizing your home can help combat carbon emissions.