Trump administration releases report confirming 2016 as hottest year since records began

Pablo Tucker
August 11, 2017

A new State of the Climate report confirmed that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of recordkeeping.

That's the diagnosis of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society, which released their annual State of the Climate report Thursday. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, all drivers of atmospheric warming, recorded new highs previous year, with carbon dioxide surpassing a milestone 400 parts per million for the first time in recent history.

The rising temperature, the report said, stems from last year's El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean as well as the planet's long-term warming trend.

Experts previously said 2016 had broken the record for the hottest year ever but the new report is significant since this is the first comprehensive climate report released under Donald Trump.

Before that, it was 2014. Examples of the indicators include various types of greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover. The global annual average atmospheric Carbon dioxide concentration was 402.9 parts per million (ppm), which surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years. The temperature of the region of the atmosphere just above the Earth's surface, known as the troposphere, was also the highest on record, as was the global average for the surface of the sea.

The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record.

Meanwhile global sea level reached new highs a year ago and was on average about 82 mm (3.25 inches) higher than the 1993 level. One-third of the sea level rise since 1880 has occurred since 1990, and coastal communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic are at increasing risk of routine flooding, saltwater intrusion into the drinking water supply and the collapse of roads, utilities and other vital infrastructure.

Scientists also observed an increase in extreme water cycles around the world with many parts of the globe experiencing major floods while other are facing severe droughts.

Land temperatures warmed too, average Arctic land surface temperature was 3.6 Fahrenheit (2.0 Celsius) above the 1981-2010 average. Globally, temperatures were up nearly a full degree over the average measured from 1981 to 2010. A total of 93 named tropical cyclones were observed worldwide in 2016, well above the 1981-2010 average of 82 storms. When anthropogenic warming is considered, the likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 rises to as high as 50 percent, according to the new study.

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