2016 was the warmest year on record, making it the third consecutive year global temperatures soared to record highs, according to a joint report issued from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA on Wednesday.
Data collected from the two agencies showed that Earth’s average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 58.69 degrees or 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. It surpassed 2015’s record by 0.07 degrees.
This is the highest average surface temperature since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
“2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
The report cites the impacts of a strong El Niño which helped bring record temperatures across the globe for the first eight months of the year. It also notes that despite a cooling influence from a weak La Niña, December 2016 was the third warmest December on record.
According to NOAA, 2016 is officially the warmest year on record, edging out previous record holder, 2015, by .07°F: https://t.co/4qDONrcZaU pic.twitter.com/K6qjIRYTFo
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) January 18, 2017
Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times and 16 of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
The study was released just days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration and the future of climate science research under his administration has been hotly discussed. Trump has given mixed signals on his views on climate change and the link between human activity.
During his campaign, Trump has called climate change a hoax made up by China. However, after winning the election in November, he said there was "some" human connectivity.