by Kundan

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2023



Global warming, the ongoing rise in global average temperature, is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. The potential impacts of unchecked climate change are far-reaching, from sea level rise and extreme weather events to disruptions in agriculture and irreversible damage to ecosystems. In this report, we will analyze key statistics on global warming to understand its causes, effects, and solutions.

Global Temperatures

The year 2022 was the sixth warmest year since global records began in 1880 with a temperature of 0.86°C (1.55°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). This is 0.13°C (0.23°F) less than the record high set in 2016 and only 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than 2021, which ranks as the seventh warmest year. All of the top 10 warmest years have occurred since 2010, with the last nine years from 2014-2022 comprising the nine hottest years on record. Notably, 2005 was the first year in the 21st century to set a new global temperature record and it currently ties 2013 as the 11th hottest year. The year 2010, which was hotter than 2005 at the time, now ranks as the 10th warmest year on record.

What Are the 10 Important Global Warming Stats You Should Know Of

  • The average global temperature has increased by about 1°C (1.8 °F) since the pre-industrial era.
  • The rate of temperature increase has accelerated to 0.2 °C  (0.36 °F) per decade since the late 19th century.
  • The Earth’s oceans are absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat caused by human activities. This is warming the oceans and causing them to expand, which is contributing to sea level rise of about 3.2 millimeters (0.13 inches) per year since 1993.
  • Sea level has risen by about 8 inches since the late 19th century. This is inundating coastal communities and causing more frequent and severe flooding.
  • The Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by about 40% since the 1970s. This is opening up new shipping routes and making it easier to extract oil and gas in the Arctic. However, it is also making the Arctic more vulnerable to climate change.
  • Glaciers are retreating all over the world, losing an average of 267 gigatons of ice per year.
  • Extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires, are becoming more frequent and severe. Heat waves have caused an estimated 166,000 deaths worldwide since 1998, and the number of people displaced by extreme weather events has doubled in the past 20 years.
  • Climate change is already hurting human health. Heat waves are causing more deaths, and air pollution is triggering respiratory problems and other health issues. Climate change is also projected to increase the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Climate change is also hurting ecosystems. Coral reefs are bleaching and dying, and many species of plants and animals are struggling to adapt to the changing climate. Climate change is also contributing to the loss of biodiversity.
  • The economic costs of climate change are estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. This is a major threat to global economic stability.
  • As part of the Covid-19 pandemic, carbon emissions decreased by 7 %.

Global Temperature Rise

According to data from NASA, NOAA, and other scientific agencies, the global average temperature has risen by approximately 1.18°C since the late 19th century. The years 2016-2020 represented the warmest 5-year period on record.

Key Statistics

  • The global average temperature has risen at an average rate of 0.15°C per decade since 1880 (NASA/GISTEMP).
  • The past 8 years (2015-2022) are the 8 warmest globally (NOAA/NCEI).
  • 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record at 1.25°C above late 19th century averages (WMO).

The continued long-term warming trend is unequivocal evidence of climate change. Without swift and drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, scientists project that global temperatures could rise by 2.7°C by 2100 compared to pre-industrial averages (IPCC). This level of warming would have catastrophic consequences.

Glacial Retreat

Glaciers worldwide have been in dramatic retreat as global temperatures have risen. This rapid glacial melt contributes to rising sea levels.

Key Statistics

  • Global glacier mass has declined by over 9,000 gigatons since 1961, contributing to a global mean sea level rise of 27 mm over this period (WMO).
  • The Greenland Ice Sheet has lost approximately 4,700 gigatons of ice mass since 2002 (NASA).
  • Mountain glaciers have shrunk by an average of 17% worldwide since 1970, with losses as high as 40% in some regions (IPCC).

The observed acceleration in glacial retreat provides visible evidence of climate change. Continued glacial melt threatens coastal cities and ecosystems.

Extreme Weather Events

Higher global temperatures are tied to an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes.

Key Statistics

  • The number of extreme heat events has increased steadily since the 1950s. Record high temperatures now outpace record lows by a ratio of over 2:1 (Climate Central).
  • Drought conditions have increased globally over the past several decades, especially in the Mediterranean region and West Africa (IPCC).
  • Wildfires burn over twice the area today compared to the 1990s, especially in western North America and the Amazon (WMO).
  • The proportion of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has increased over the past 40 years, along with intensified rainfall rates during these storms (NOAA).

The rise in extreme events demonstrates that climate change is increasing weather variability and posing escalating threats to communities worldwide.

Sea Level Rise

Rising global temperatures drive sea level rise through the thermal expansion of ocean waters and melting land ice flowing into the oceans. Sea levels have already risen 20-30 cm since 1900.

Key Statistics

  • Global mean sea level has risen by 3.7 mm/year on average since 2006, more than twice the average of the 20th century (WMO).
  • Without mitigation, sea levels could rise 0.61-1.10 m by 2100 relative to 1995 levels, displacing up to 187 million people (IPCC).
  • Eight of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast, putting tens of millions at risk from continued sea level rise (UN Environment).

Coastal populations and ecosystems worldwide face an existential threat as warming oceans and melting ice sheets drive projected sea level rise measured in feet rather than inches this century.

Emissions and Solutions

The rise in greenhouse gas emissions, principally CO2 from fossil fuel combustion, is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century. But solutions exist to change course.

Key Statistics

  • CO2 levels today are 50% higher than pre-industrial times and at their highest in at least 800,000 years (NOAA).
  • The IPCC projects a rise in global temperature between 2.0°C and 4.4°C this century depending on emissions pathways. Only drastic cuts starting now limit warming to 1.5°C.
  • Renewables generated 27% of global electricity in 2019. Electric vehicle sales were up 40% in 2020 despite the pandemic (IEA).
  • 14 countries and the EU have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. China aims for carbon neutrality by 2060 (Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit).

While past emissions virtually guarantee continued warming, immediate collective action to cut greenhouse gases can avoid catastrophic climate change. The technologies to transition to carbon-neutral economies already exist today.


  1. Global warming is unequivocal, with clear upward trends in temperatures, glacial melt, extreme events, and sea levels.
  2. Human activities, specifically greenhouse gas emissions, have been the dominant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century.
  3. Solutions exist to transition to net-zero emissions economies through clean energy, electrification, and other technologies. Urgent action is needed to limit future warming and adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is global warming?

Global warming refers to the long-term rise in Earth’s average temperature due to an increase in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that trap heat in the atmosphere. Since the late 19th century, the global average temperature has increased by about 1°C.

What causes global warming?

The greenhouse effect causes global warming. Certain gases in the atmosphere like carbon dioxide and methane absorb infrared radiation, trapping heat like a greenhouse. Human activities that produce these gases, especially the burning of fossil fuels, are the main drivers of modern climate change.

What are the effects of global warming?

Global warming is causing a wide range of impacts including sea level rise, shrinking glaciers, stronger hurricanes, more extreme heat, drought and wildfires, disruptions to ecosystems, and threats to human health, food, and water security.

Is global warming natural?

The climate has changed naturally throughout Earth’s history. However, the current warming period is occurring much faster than past changes and can only be explained by the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

How can we stop global warming?

We can mitigate global warming by transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. Improving energy efficiency, electrifying transportation and industry, reducing deforestation, and changing agricultural practices can also limit future warming.

Is it too late to stop climate change?

It’s too late to prevent some warming from greenhouse gases already emitted. But we can avoid the most catastrophic impacts if we reduce emissions substantially starting now. Immediate action gives us the best chance to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.


by Kundan

Kundan Goyal possesses a wealth of experience in Digital Marketing, offering valuable insights to businesses of all sizes. He actively contributes to industry-specific PR, news outlets, and forums, shaping discussions and driving forward-thinking strategies. Outside of work, HE enjoys carrom and has a deep passion for news editing and research. His strength lies in helping companies make informed, strategic decisions and predicting future trends. With his dedication and innovative approach, he is a versatile professional who brings a unique blend of skills and expertise to the ever-evolving digital landscape, enabling businesses to thrive in this dynamic environment.