Scientists confirm 2016 as warmest year
A new State of the Climate report confirmed that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of recordkeeping.
Last year’s record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and a strong El Niño early in the year. The report found that the major indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet. Several markers such as land and ocean temperatures, sea level, and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere broke records set just one year prior.
These key findings and others are available from the State of the Climate in 2016 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
The 27th annual issuance of the report, led by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, is based on contributions from nearly 500 scientists from more than 60 countries around the world and reflects tens of thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.
It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space.
The report’s climate indicators show patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system. Examples of the indicators include various types of greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover.
The report highlights include that major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide, rose to new record high values during 2016. The global annual average atmospheric CO2 concentration was 402.9 parts per million (ppm), which surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years. This was 3.5 ppm more than 2015, and it was the largest annual increase observed in the 58-year record.
Aided by the strong El Niño early in the year, the 2016 annual global surface temperature observed record warmth for a third consecutive year, with the 2016 annual global surface temperature surpassing the previous record of 2015.
In the region of the atmosphere just above Earth’s surface, the globally averaged lower troposphere temperature was highest on record.The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record. The more recent global sea surface temperature trend for the 21st century-to-date (2000–2016) of +2.92°F (1.62°C) per century is much higher than the longer term (1950–2016) warming trend of +1.8°F (1.0°C) per century.
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