NASA says 2017 was one of Earth’s top 3 hottest years on record
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, the UK Met Office, and other groups that monitor the planet’s thermostat, 2017 was by far the warmest year to occur without an El Niño event, which can boost ocean and air temperatures and was partly responsible for propelling 2016 to the top spot on the list of warmest years.
While each group differs slightly in their final numbers and rankings, the numbers they came up with differ mainly because of the way they calculate temperatures in data-poor regions, such as the rapidly warming Arctic.
For example, NASA, which uses methods to account for Arctic-wide temperatures, found that 2017 was the second-warmest year on record, whereas NOAA, which leaves out large portions of the Arctic region, ranked 2017 as the third-warmest year.
Either way, the fact is that 2017 was a top 3 warmest year, and that 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
According to NOAA, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces in 2017 was 0.84 degrees Celsius, or 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 20th century average, putting it behind 2016 and 2015 in that agency’s database.
Here are a few startling facts NOAA released about how fast, and consistently, the world has been warming in recent decades.
– No one born since 1977 has experienced a cooler-than-average year compared to the 20th century average. Or, to put it another way, it’s been 41 years since we’ve had a cooler-than-average year.
– The six warmest years have each occurred since 2010.
– From 1880 to 1980, the world set a new temperature record about every 13 years on average. Now that happens once every 3 years.
– The annual global average temperature increased at an average rate of 0.07 degrees Celsius, or 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit, per decade since 1880. However, this rate has sped up to more than twice as fast since 1980.
Scientists caution that even though the world is warming over time, with the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere now unsettlingly ensconced at the highest level in human history, every year is not expected to set a new record.
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