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2016 Hottest year on Record
by World Meteorological Organization, NASA, agencies
10:57am 28th Dec, 2016
Jan 18. 2017
2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe. (NOAA)
With a boost from El Nino, 2016 began with a bang. For eight consecutive months, January to August, the globe experienced record warm heat. With this as a catalyst, the 2016 globally averaged surface temperature ended as the highest since record keeping began in 1880, according to scientists from NOAA''s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces in 2016 was 58.69 degrees F or 1.69 degrees F above the 20th century average. This surpassed last year’s record by 0.07 degrees F. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016).
Despite the cooling influence of a weak La Nina in the latter part of the year, the year ended with the third warmest December on record for the globe, with an average temperature 1.42 degrees F above the 20th century average.
In a separate analysis of global temperature data released at the same time, scientists from NASA also found 2016 to be the warmest year on record.
Noteworthy findings from 2016:
The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record, 1.35 degree F above average.
The globally averaged land surface temperature was the highest on record, 2.57 degrees F above average.
North America had its warmest year on record; South America and Africa had their second; Asia and Europe had their third; and Australia had its fifth.
The average Arctic sea ice extent for the year was 3.92 million square miles, the smallest annual average since record-keeping began in 1979.
The average Antarctic sea ice extent for the year was 4.31 million square miles, the second smallest annual average since record-keeping began in 1979.
Jan. 18, 2017
NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally. (NASA)
Earth''s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-20th century mean. This makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.
The 2016 temperatures continue a long-term warming trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA''s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2016 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data.
“2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “We don''t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
The planet''s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.
Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months. October, November, and December of 2016 were the second warmest of those months on record — in all three cases, behind records set in 2015.
Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced record average temperatures last year. For example, both NASA and NOAA found the 2016 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the second warmest on record. In contrast, the Arctic experienced its warmest year ever, consistent with record low sea ice found in that region for most of the year.
05 January 2017
Earth on the edge: 2016 confirmed as the warmest year on record, warmer than 2015 by close to 0.2°C
The first global analysis of the whole of 2016 has confirmed last year as the warmest on record and saw the planet near a 1.5°C warming, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).
The latest figures from C3S, part of the EU’s Copernicus earth observation programme, show that 2016’s global temperature exceeded 14.8°C, and was around 1.3°C higher than typical for the middle years of the 18th century. 2016 was close to 0.2°C warmer than 2015, which was previously the warmest year on record.
Countries agreed in Paris in 2015 to holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
Global warming increases the likelihood of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Future warming could cause billions of euro of damage each year and affect the availability of fresh water and crop yields in the most vulnerable countries.
Director of Copernicus Services Juan Garcés de Marcilla said:
“We are already seeing around the globe the impacts of a changing climate. Land and sea temperatures are rising along with sea-levels, while the world’s sea-ice extent, glacier volume and snow cover are decreasing; rainfall patterns are changing and climate-related extremes such as heatwaves, floods and droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity for many regions. The future impact of climate change will depend on the effort we make now, in part achieved by better sharing of climate knowledge and information.
To help decision-makers develop effective adaptation and mitigation solutions we make the data from Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) freely and openly available. By mainstreaming the information that the Copernicus Services hold into climate policy and strategy, governments, the private sector and society can identify and unite around opportunities to tackle further climate change and reduce vulnerability where its effects are unavoidable.”
C3S found that global temperatures in February 2016 already touched the 1.5°C limit, though under the influence of a strong El Niño, an intermittent event involving a period of warming. Global temperatures still remained well above average in the second half of 2016, associated partly with exceptionally low sea-ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
C3S found that most regions around the world experienced above-average temperatures during 2016. The largest differences in regional average temperatures were found in the Arctic but conditions were also extreme over southern Africa early in the year, over southern and south-eastern Asia prior to the summer monsoon, over the Middle East later in summer, and over parts of North America in summer and autumn.
28 Dec 2016 ((WMO News)
The year 2016 remains on track to be the hottest year on record, with average global temperatures set to break even the records of 2015, according to data covering the first eleven months of the year.
Temperatures spiked in the early months of 2016 because of a very strong El Niño event and remained well above the long-term average for the latter part of the year according to the reports from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts.
Long-term indicators of human-caused climate change, including record carbon dioxide concentrations, and glacier melt, and low sea ice, continued.
The World Meteorological Organization will issue consolidated figures on 2016 global temperatures in early 2017. November data confirms WMO’s assessment issued in November that 2016 will very likely be the hottest year since records began in the mid 1880s.
The WMO provisional statement on the climate in 2016, released for the UN Climate Change conference in Marrakech, Morocco, cited preliminary data (to the end of September) that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels. All the hottest years on record apart from 1998 (during which there was a strong El Niño) have been this century.
“The climate has broken records in 2016” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide levels were above the symbolic level of 400 parts per million. In the oceans, record warmth contributed to widespread coral reef bleaching. And on land, droughts, floods and tropical cyclones disrupted the lives of millions of people as well as progress towards socio-economic development. A part of the disasters may be linked to climate change” said Mr Taalas.
“Temperatures in the Arctic have been particularly high,” said Mr Taalas. “Arctic sea ice was exceptionally low, especially during early 2016 and the October-December re-freezing period. Antarctic ice extent was also the lowest on record in November, in contrast to the trend of recent years. What happens at the Poles does not stay at the Poles but impacts weather patterns on a hemispheric scale,” said Mr Taalas.
The Arctic is warming at about twice the rate as the global average. The Arctic Report card, issued by NOAA and partners, highlighted that the persistent warming trend and loss of sea ice are triggering extensive Arctic changes.
“Scientific studies are increasingly proving the link between extreme weather – especially heat – and human-induced climate change from greenhouse gases,” said Mr Taalas.
“This increases the need for investment in better impact-based weather forecasts and early warning systems to save lives and support climate change adaptation both now and in the coming decades ahead.”
The most recent study, released by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) on 15 December, said that numerous weather events in 2015 were made more likely by climate change. The strongest evidence for a human influence was found for temperature-related events --- the increased intensity of heat waves around the world, record-low Arctic sea ice extent in March and the extraordinary extent and duration of Alaska wildfires.
The BAMS Special Supplement on Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective is now in its fifth year. During that time, more than 100 peer-reviewed papers have examined extreme events spanning half a decade. Approximately 65% of these papers have shown that human-caused climate change “influenced an event’s frequency and/or intensity in a substantial and measurable manner.”
WMO will issue final details about the 2016 state of the climate in early 2017. It will take the pre-industrial era as a baseline, and use three datasets from NOAA, NASA and the Hadley Centre of the UK’s Met Office and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia. WMO also draws on reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts, which has used all available observational data and an assimilation system to produce a global climatology.
With only one month left in the year, the 2016 year-to-date global temperature (January–November) was the highest on record for this period, at 0.94°C (1.69°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.2°F), according to NOAA.
Record warmth for the year-to-date was present across Alaska, much of western Canada, parts of the northern and eastern United States, much of Central America and northern South America, various regions across Africa, parts of northern and southern Asia, much of southeast Asia island nations, according to NOAA.
The average global sea surface temperature for the year-to-date was the highest in the 137-year record. Record high average sea surface temperatures for the January–November period were present across the northern Pacific waters near Alaska, the Bering Sea, parts of the southern and western Pacific, a long swath of the western Atlantic stretching to the Gulf of Mexico, parts of the southern and eastern Indian Ocean extending across the waters of the southeastern Asia island nations and Oceania.
Copernicus Climate Change Service (ECMWF) said November 2016 “extended the spell of exceptional global warmth that has now lasted more than a year.” A separate analysis, from the WMO Regional Climate Center - Network for Europe (WMO Regional Association VI), said that Europe would likely have its fourth warmest year on record.

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