For three years in a row, Earth breaks heat record | Science News

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For three years in a row, Earth breaks heat record

Climate change, El Niño drove 2016’s high temperatures

By
3:49pm, January 18, 2017
2016 temperature difference map

RECORD BREAKER  Climate change and remnant warming from the 2015–2016 El Niño helped make 2016 the hottest year on record. Blue areas were cooler than their long-term average temperature; red areas were warmer.

For the third year running, Earth’s thermostat broke a new record: 2016 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880.

Spurred by climate change and heat from a monster El Niño, the global average surface temperature last year was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century average of 13.9° C (57° F). That slightly edges out the previous titleholder, 2015, by 0.04 degrees C (SN: 2/20/16, p. 13). Eight months during 2016 set new all-time highs, including July and August, which tied for Earth’s warmest months on record, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA reported January 18.

This is only the second time that the annual temperature record has been broken three years in a row, Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch of NOAA

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