A study from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reveals that the Earth’s surface temperatures in 2016 were the warmest when recordkeeping began in 1880, setting a new record for global average surface temperatures. The agencies found that the average global temperatures last year were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit or .99 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean of the last century.
“2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said Gavin Schmidt, the director, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
The findings were made possible by weather stations, observations of sea surface temperatures based on ships and buoys as well as measurements from the Antarctic research stations. The data were then analyzed using an algorithm. Eight of the 12 months last year or from January to September, except June, were also the warmest months on record. October, November, and December of last year were the second warmest of those months in history.
The scientists say that environmental events like El Niño or La Niña can also contribute to changes in global average temperatures. The experts believe that the El Niño that hit the tropical Pacific increased last year’s global temperature by up to 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit of 0.12 degrees Celsius.
“A single warm year is something of a curiosity,” pointed out Deke Arndt, the chief of global climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the New York Times reported. “It’s really the trend, and the fact that we’re punching at the ceiling every year now, that is the real indicator that we’re undergoing big changes.”
Schmidt also told NBC News that we do not want to be breaking new records every year. Nevertheless, Bernadette Woods Placky, the chief meteorologist at the independent nonprofit Climate Central, also told NBC News that these trends of breaking new world records should be expected and something must be done to it.