Initial reports suggest 2016 warmest year on record

Worldwide organisations agree that 2016 was the hottest year on modern records

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have both confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year on modern records, which date back to 1880.

Last year was the third year in a row that saw record high global average surface temperatures. Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), situated in New York, confirmed that 2016 witnessed a continuation of the “ongoing long-term warming trend”.

Dr Gavin Schmidt, the director at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said that while they don’t expect record years every year, there is a definite and ‘clear’ trend, with 16 of the last 17 years recording the warmest temperatures on record.

Figures from NASA, suggest the average surface temperatures was between 0.1 – 0.12 of a degree Celsius warmer in 2016 than in 2015. A number which “doesn’t seem like a lot, but in terms of the year-to-year variations it’s actually huge”, said Dr Schmidt speaking to BBC News.

The experts agreed that the El Niño climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean was definitely a factor which influenced the Earth’s surface temperatures in 2016.

However, despite the record high temperatures, the covering of sea-ice in the Antartica has not broken records in terms of its extent. At present, the sea-ice extent is the second smallest on record.

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