2016 Hit Records For Global Temperature And Climate Extremes

| By Scott Neuman 

The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

According to the annual, peer-reviewed State of the Climate report, it was also a year of other extremes and records, including the highest sea levels and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. And, it was one of the worst years for droughts.

A field cleared of sunflowers destroyed by drought is seen in Padina, Serbia, on Thursday.
Marko Drobnjakovic/AP

The 299-report, published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, relies on the work of hundreds of scientists in 60 countries. It shows that 2016 was “very extreme and it is a cause for concern,” says NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, a co-editor of the report.

Blunden says that a strong El Nino in the first part of 2016 was a contributing factor, helping push up global temperatures, but that is by no means the sole cause.

NPR’s Christopher Joyce reports for our Newscast unit, “The report notes that these changes are consistent with projections of human-caused climate change.”

Last year also witnessed new records for the greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.

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