CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — According to NASA, 2022’s global temperature average tied with 2015 as the fifth warmest year since 1880 when measurements first began. NOAA ranked 2022 as the sixth warmest year on record and said nine of the past 10 years have been the hottest in recorded history.

Slide from a joint presentation by NASA and NOAA listing the 18 different weather disasters that each caused over a billion dollars in damage (Courtesy NOAA)

2022 was also the third costliest year in the U.S. for weather and climate-related disaster events, resulting in over $165 billion in damage. NASA and NOAA said that warmer air temperatures can contribute to the strength of extreme weather systems as warm air is able to hold more precipitation, making them more frequent and potentially more destructive.

“If our leaders not only here but across the world, do not act on this scientific data, our ice sheets are gonna continue to melt, our oceans will become more acidic, extreme weather will intensify,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said during a live press event Thursday morning.

Ocean heat content was also the highest on record in 2022, a stat that measures the total amount of heat energy in the earth’s oceans. Oceans store 90% of heat in the earth’s system which is measured through the use of everything from gliders and bottles to instruments attached to marine mammals.

“It’s really hard for people to understand often when they hear these temperatures warming across the globe what that means for them where they live. It translates into bigger changes in temperature in individual seasons or individual locations,” said NOAA Chief Scientist Sarah Kapnick. “It also increases the likelihood but also the magnitude of certain types of extreme events.”

Kapnick said the major extreme events that happen in north central West Virginia are heat waves and said they are becoming much more likely as CO2 emissions and global temperatures continue to rise. This could mean that in the future, heat waves will be hotter, more regular or have fewer days between heat waves.

“You also have increases in the likelihood of extreme precipitation events, a lot of water falling from the sky, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water,” Kapnick continued.

According to NOAA and NASA data, West Virginia received above-average precipitation from January to December 2022.

To learn more about how global temperatures can impact your local community, you can head to the Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) website.