For third-straight time, Earth sets hottest year record

FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2016 file photo, a youth takes a drink on a hill overlooking the city after a long hot day in Madrid, Spain. Earth’s 16-month sizzling streak of record high temperatures is finally over, according to one group of federal meteorologists. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month’s 60.6 degrees was merely the second hottest September on record for the globe. That’s ever so slightly cooler, a few hundredths of a degree, than the record set in 2015. But it was quite a bit warmer, 1.6 degrees, than 20th century average. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, government scientists said Wednesday. They mostly blame man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino, which has since disappeared.

Measuring global temperatures in slightly different ways, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that last year passed 2015 as the hottest year on record.

NOAA calculated that the average 2016 global temperature was 58.69 degrees (14.84 degrees Celsius) — beating the previous year by 0.07 degrees (0.04 Celsius).

NASA’s figures, which include more of the Arctic, are higher at 0.22 degrees (0.12 Celsius) warmer than 2015. The Arctic “was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, where the space agency monitors global temperatures.

Records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005.

The World Meteorological Organization and other international weather monitoring groups agreed that 2016 was a record, with the international weather agency chief Petteri Taalas saying “temperatures only tell part of the story” of extreme warming.

“This is clearly a record,” NASA’s Schmidt said in an interview. “We are now no longer only looking at something that only scientists can see, but is apparent to people in our daily lives.”

Schmidt said his calculations show most of the record heat was from heat-trapping gases from the burning of oil, coal and gas. Only about 12 percent was due to El Nino, which is a periodic warming of parts of the Pacific that change weather globally, he said.

“Of course this is climate change, it’s overwhelmingly climate change,” said Corinne Le Quere, director of England’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, who wasn’t part of the

NOAA or NASA teams. “Warming (is) nearly everywhere. The Arctic sea ice is collapsing. Spikes in fires from the heat. Heavy rainfall from more water vapor in the air.”

According to NOAA, 2016 was 1.69 degrees (0.94 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 20th Century average. The first eight months of 2016 all broke heat records. NASA has last year at 1.78 degrees (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than their mid-20th Century average and about 2 degrees warmer than the start of the industrial age in the late 19th Century.

The effects are more than just records, but actually hurt people and the environment, said Oklahoma University meteorology professor Jason Furtado. They’re “harmful on several levels, including human welfare, ecology, economics, and even geopolitics,” he said.

WDTN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s