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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

When hot just started getting hotter

 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA have shown us that the Earth's 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880. Not only that, but the record-breaking year continues a long-term warming trend, 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001.

This visualization illustrates Earth's long-term warming trend, showing temperature changes from 1880 to 2015 as a rolling five-year average. Orange colours represent temperatures that are warmer than the 1951-80 baseline average, and blues represent temperatures cooler than the baseline. Credits: GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

The NOAA has since reported than January 2016 was the hottest January on record and to add to that the previous three months have been the most unusually warm three-month period on record as well, according to new findings from NASA. See: for more detail.

The NOAA report that:

The January 2016 globally-averaged temperature across land and ocean surfaces was 1.04°C above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F), the highest for January in the 137-year period of record, breaking the previous record of 2007 by 0.16°C (0.29°F). This departure from average is the second highest among all months in the historical record, second only to December 2015, which was 1.11°C (2.00°F) above average. These two months are the only two to-date to surpass a monthly temperature departure of 1°C. January 2016 also marks the ninth consecutive month that the monthly temperature record has been broken and the 14th consecutive month (since December 2014) that the monthly global temperature ranked among the three warmest for its respective month.

For February the pattern continues and NOAA reported that:

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for February 2015 was the second highest since record keeping began in 1880. Both the year-to-date (January–February) and seasonal (December–February) globally averaged temperatures were record high.


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