WASHINGTON — An international report issued Thursday by the U.S. government confirmed that 2016 topped 2015 as the hottest year globally in 137 years of record keeping.
“Most indicators of climate change (in 2016) continued to follow trends of a warming world,” the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement.
“Several, including land and ocean temperatures, sea level and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere broke records set just one year prior,” it said.
The State of the Climate report, a sort of annual checkup for the planet, was compiled by researchers from the NOAA and had contributions from more than 450 scientists from nearly 60 countries.
The temperature record, which marked the third year in a row global heat records have been shattered, was actually first reported at the beginning of the year by the U.S. NOAA and other climate agencies around the world.
Among notable findings from the new report was that greenhouse gases were the highest on record.
Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, rose to new record-high values in 2016, the report said.
The 2016 average global CO2 concentration was 402.9 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 3.5 ppm compared with 2015 and the largest annual increase observed in the 58-year record, it said.
Global surface temperature was also the highest on record.
“Aided in part by the strong El Nino early in the year, the 2016 combined global land and ocean surface temperature was record-high for a third consecutive year,” it said.
“The increase in temperature ranged from 0.81-1.01 degrees Fahrenheit (0.45-0.56 degrees Celsius) above the 1981-2010 average.”
Meanwhile, average sea surface temperature in 2016 was the highest on record, 0.65-0.74 degrees Fahrenheit (0.36-0.41 degrees Celsius) higher than the 1981-2010 average and surpassing the previous mark set in 2015 by 0.02-0.05 degrees Fahrenheit (0.01-0.03 degrees Celsius).
In addition, the global average sea level rose to a new record high in 2016, and, according to the new report, was about 3.25 inches (82 mm) higher than that observed in 1993, when satellite record-keeping for sea level began.
The new report came days after The New York Times publicized a separate draft report compiled by scientists from 13 federal agencies that found Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.
The newspaper cited one government scientist who worked on the report as saying that they fear that the Trump administration could change or suppress the report, which is now awaiting approval from the White House.