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Climate Review: 2021 was a warm and costly year

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 8:17 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - There’s no doubt about it. Climate change had a significant impact across the United States last year.

NOAA released it’s annual climate report today, and it showed widespread impacts across the country.

The United States had 20 billion-dollar weather events. This is well above the annual average of 7 and just shy of the yearly record of 22 set in 2020. According to Climate Central, the time between these billion-dollar weather events is decreasing. In the 1980s, there was an average of 82 days between billion-dollar events. Now, that time has shortened to just 18 days.

Last year we saw 20 billion-dollar weather events.
Last year we saw 20 billion-dollar weather events.(Climate Central)

2021 was also a very warm year for the United States. Last year was the 4th warmest year on record in the United States.

This kind of extreme warmth has not been uncommon recently. Of the top 10 warmest years on record for the United States, 9 have occurred in the last 25 years and the top 7 have been since 2006 and later.

2021 was the 4th warmest year on record in the United States.
2021 was the 4th warmest year on record in the United States.(Climate Central)

The Heart of Illinois was no stranger to extreme warmth either. Peoria finished the year 1.2° above average.

Many of our local counties saw top ten warmth as well. Here is a look at a county-by-county breakdown.

On this map, data over the last 127 years is used. So for example, the 8 in Peoria County means that it was the 8th warmest year on record. Other than Fulton County, every other county in our viewing area was the 15th warmest or warmer last year.

Many of our local counties had top ten warmth last year.
Many of our local counties had top ten warmth last year.(First Alert Weather, Heart of Illinois ABC)
Peoria has warmed 3.5 degrees since the 1970s.
Peoria has warmed 3.5 degrees since the 1970s.(Climate Central)

2022 is off to a cold start for now, but time will tell if the warmth caused by climate change will help cause more extremes in our weather.

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