News at a glance: Global warming, China’s COVID-19 deaths, and JWST’s exoplanet investigations – Science

by | Jan 19, 2023 | COVID-19

In 2022, Earth set new records for warming
Temperatures continued to rise at an alarming pace in 2022, which became the fifth- or sixth-hottest year in modern history, U.S. and European science agencies reported last week. Earth’s average recorded surface temperatures were some 1.2°C warmer than preindustrial times. Nearly 30 countries set individual all-time heat records, and some 850 million people experienced the warmest temperatures of their lives last year. As in 2021, the warming was suppressed by a persistent, multiyear La Niña cooling pattern in the tropical Pacific Ocean, the agencies said. But La Niña is expected to wane this year, setting the stage for even higher temperatures. Meanwhile, the world’s oceans, which capture 90% of the excess heat from global warming and are less prone to short-term temperature fluctuations, again had their hottest year on record in 2022—as they have nearly every year since the 1990s.

China reports COVID-19 deaths
China’s government said last week that nearly 60,000 people have died after contracting COVID-19 since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy on 7 December 2022—a major departure from previous assertions, deemed not credible by outsiders, that fewer than 10 people per day died since the policy ended. The new tally includes hospitalized patients for whom COVID-19 was either the direct cause of death or a contributing factor, a National Health Commission official said at a 14 January press briefing. The average age of the deceased was 80, and more than 90% had …

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