NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have officially declared 2016 the hottest year on record, the third year in a row that rising global temperatures have shattered all previous records.
2016 “is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said Gavin Schmidt, director NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
Average surface temperatures in 2016 “were 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 2015 and featured eight successive months (January through August) that were individually the warmest since the agency’s records began in 1880,” the Washington Post reports.
NOAA placed average land and ocean temperatures across the globe at 58.69°F, 1.69°F above the 20th century average of 57°, the Post states. “The agency also noted that the record for the global temperature has now successively been broken five times since the year 2000. The years 2005 and 2010 were also record warm years, according to the agency’s data.”
NASA found a 0.22°F temperature increase between 2015 and 2016, adding that the planet has experienced “16 of the 17 warmest years on record” since 2001.
“The record comes two days before Donald Trump, who has tweeted that global warming is a ‘hoax,’ assumes the presidency and, with it, control over the two science agencies that announced these records,” writes Post correspondent Chris Mooney. “It is also the same day that Scott Pruitt, Trump’s controversial nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency, is appearing before the Senate in an often-tense confirmation hearing in which he has been questioned about climate change. Pruitt has previously written that the ‘debate’ over climate change is ‘far from settled.’”