Weather extremes from climate change show no sign of slowing … – USA TODAY

A new federal summary of the globe’s climate last year takes bits and pieces of grim news from the past 18 months and rolls it into a sobering report on the world’s warming climate. 
Long-term warming trends continue worldwide, even when interrupted by temporary cooler weather phenomena, such as the lingering La Nina in the Pacific, concluded the 2021 “State of the Climate” report released Wednesday.
“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 report is prepared by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, with contributions from scientists around the world.
Given the floods, drought and historic heat that have continued this year, Spinrad said the “climate crisis is not a future threat but something we must address today.”
He and Paul Higgins, associate director of the American Meteorological Society, said the world should use the report to become more resilient against climate extremes. 
“If we take it seriously and use it wisely, it can help us thrive on a planet that is increasingly small in comparison to the impact of our activities,” Higgins said.
The news, however, wasn’t all bad. The La Nina lowered sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and helped suppress other global temperatures. Also, the South Pole saw its coldest winter on record, despite warmer temperatures elsewhere in Antarctica.  
Here are some of the report’s biggest takeaways:
The Earth’s warming trend continued, and for the 10th consecutive year, the global mean sea level set a record high.
Is the globe prepared? Extreme heat waves may be our new normal, thanks to climate change.
Temperature extremes set many new record highs, but also a few record lows. 
Learn more about earlier bloom dates: Festivals forced to adapt as climate change disrupts historic weather patterns
Glaciers around the world continued melting for the 34th year in a row, while the temperature of permafrost in many areas reached record high levels. 
Some areas experienced new levels of drought, while others saw record rainfall. Experts say both reflect the warming climate. 
USA TODAY investigates: How a summer of extreme weather reveals a stunning shift in the way rain falls in America.
The big two greenhouse gases  – carbon dioxide and methane – rose to new record highs. Climate scientists say reducing emissions is critical to prevent further warming. 
Listen to rainfall trends: What if you could hear climate change? Listen to music based on a century of rainfall data
Dinah Voyles Pulver covers climate and environmental issues for USA TODAY. She can be reached at dpulver@gannett.com or at @dinahvp on Twitter.

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