Published: Sun, January 22, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Global temperatures hit record high for the third year in a row

With the exception of June, all months from January to September saw record temperatures in 2016.

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-20th century mean.

The new high marks the fifth time the global temperature record has been bested since 2005, NOAA added.

The research shows that temperatures previous year were roughly 0.07 degrees Celsius warmer than they were in 2015.

Meanwhile, Schmidt said that seeing another year with record-high temperatures in 2017 is "unlikely".

The year 2016 can be summed up in one word: Warm. Climate scientists say we are on track to hit an average of 2 degrees Celsius above average sometime this century.

The subject of climate change has divided opinion over the last few years but you can not argue with cold, or warm in the case, hard facts. That is, until 2015, which replaced it as the warmest year on record.

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2016 was the USA's second-warmest year on record, NOAA said last week.

Much of eastern and western Africa, north central Siberia, parts of south Asia, much of southeast Asia island nations and Papua New Guinea, and parts of Australia, especially along the northern and eastern coasts, also experienced record high temperatures.

The Arctic was almost 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter past year than in preindustrial period, a "very large change" according to Goddard Institute for Space Studies director Gavin Schmidt. In the Arctic, water temperatures this fall rose 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. As a result, most of the heat is coming from a mix of global warming and the greenhouse effect.

The natural El Niño climate phenomenon, which helped ramp up temperatures to "shocking" levels in early 2016, has now waned, but carbon emissions were the major factor and will continue to drive rising heat. The final tally was an increase of 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees C) compared with the average of the 20th century.

A year ago averaged 0.99 C above the 1951-1980 average for land/ocean surface combined, according to NASA. "However, the main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere".

These trends are concerning because, not only have sea ice minimum records been broken in the Arctic and Antarctic, that loss of ice is driving weather, climate and ocean circulation patterns across the world.

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