Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

US Gov't Report Confirms 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record

US Gov't Report Confirms 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record

Last year's global weather was the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, a US government report said Thursday.

An worldwide, peer-reviewed publication released each summer, the State of the Climate is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Combining historical temperature data and state-of-the-art climate model simulations, the new study finds the likelihood of experiencing consecutive record-breaking global temperatures from 2014 to 2016 without the effects of human-caused climate change is no greater than 0.03 percent and the likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 is no more than 0.7 percent.

The report also said the global surface temperature observed was the highest on record last year, aided by the strong El Niño early in the year.

The latest federal report on the Earth's warming climate doesn't mince words about the disturbing trends, man's contributions or the dangers that millions across the globe already face, especially in low-lying coastal areas in Florida and elsewhere.

Translation: As Earth's climate changes it directly affects sea level rise, greenhouse gas concentrations and land and ocean temperatures.

Atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 402.9 parts per million (ppm), surpassing 400 ppm for the first time in the modern record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.

The lower troposphere - the atmosphere right above the Earth's surface - had the highest temperature on record, and the upper ocean's heat was close to a record.

The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the highest on record. Global warmth records have been kept for the past 136 years.

Meanwhile global sea level reached new highs previous year and was on average about 82 mm (3.25 inches) higher than the 1993 level.

A general increase in the water cycle (the process of evaporating water into air and condensing it as rain or snow), combined with the strong El Niño, enhanced the variability of precipitation around the world.

Northeastern Brazil marked its fifth consecutive year of drought, the longest dry spell on record in this region.

The spike was greatest in the Arctic, where temperatures were 2.6 degrees above the 1981-2010 average and 3.6 degrees higher than they were in 1900. Below the surface, record high temperatures at the 20-meter (65-feet) depth were measured at all permafrost observatories on the North Slope of Alaska and at the Canadian observatory on northernmost Ellesmere Island. Globally, temperatures were up nearly a full degree over the average measured from 1981 to 2010.

In 2016, meteorologists recorded 93 named tropical storms worldwide - above the 1981 to 2010 average of 82, but fewer than the 101 storms in 2015.

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

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