Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

2016 down as warmest year on record

2016 down as warmest year on record

A range of key climate and weather indicators show the planet is growing increasingly warm, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, said the annual State of the Climate Report.

The report is a peer-reviewed annual series led by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and the American Meteorological Society, and is based on contributions from almost 500 scientists from more than 60 countries.

The US President has repeatedly dismissed man-made climate change as "a Chinese hoax" and he sent shockwaves through the worldwide community when he announced the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It was 3.5 parts per million higher than the previous year, the biggest jump in the 58 years it has been recorded. Scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) have found that Earth's average surface temperature has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.0 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late-19th century. Surface temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, two of the more publicly recognized indicators of global-scale climate change, set new highs during 2016, as did several surface and near-surface indicators and essential climate variables.

The authors of the leaked study disagree with that stance, writing in the report: "Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change".

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a leading environmental agency which is part of the United States federal government, found that global temperatures were warmer last year than in 137 years of recordkeeping for a third consecutive year - surpassing the previosu record of 2015.

"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 said. There are both natural and human events that make temperature changes cluster together, such as climate patterns like El Niño, the solar cycle and volcanic eruptions, according to Mann.

When this dependency is taken into account, the likelihood of these three consecutive record-breaking years occurring since 1880 is about 0.03 percent in the absence of human-caused climate change.

"Major indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet", the report said.

"Drought in 2016 was among the most extensive in the post-1950 record", said the report.

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