2016 was hottest year on record, global report confirms

Gwen Vasquez
August 10, 2017

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a leading environmental agency which is part of the U.S. federal government, found that global temperatures were warmer last year than in 137 years of recordkeeping for a third consecutive year - surpassing the previosu record of 2015. The report is congressionally mandated every four years.

Last year was the hottest ever recorded on Earth in 137 years, an worldwide report released Thursday from the American Meteorological Society shows.

The agreement, spearheaded by Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, and signed by 195 countries in April 2016, aims to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions and limiting global temperature rises to below 2 degrees Celsius.

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and life on Earth", said the peer-reviewed publication, put together by almost 500 scientists around the globe and released each year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society.

The report State of the Climate confirmed last year's heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term temperature rising and a strong El Nino early in the year.

But as humanity continues to rely on fossil fuels for energy, unprecedented levels of greenhouse gases are polluting the atmosphere, acting like a blanket to capture heat around the Earth, the report emphasised. It is also the highest level in 800,000 years, if one takes into account the data from the study of layers of ice.

It is unclear what effect the report will have on President Donald Trump's stance on climate change.

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Global sea levels achieved a new record high in 2016, the sixth year in a row that Earth has seen an increase in sea levels.

In the Arctic, the most sensitive area to global warming, the average surface temperature past year was two degrees above the average from 1981-2010, beating all the records.

Several countries, including Mexico and India, have recorded annual temperature records in 2016.

In the Antarctic, the sea ice has experienced its lowest growth, much lower than the average of 1981-2010.

In equatorial regions, 93 tropical storms have occurred in 2016 more than the average of 82 between 1981 and 2010, but less than 101 in 2015.

"Drought in 2016 was among the most extensive in the post-1950 record", said the report.

The report was published in partnership with the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, another government agency which describes itself as the US' leading authority for environmental information, and the American Meteorological Society.

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