Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

NASA Has Declared 2017 To Be The Second Warmest Year On Record

NASA Has Declared 2017 To Be The Second Warmest Year On Record

The years 2014, 2015, and 2016 had set new all-time temperature records in stepwise fashion - culminating in a dramatic new high in 2016 - and NASA and NOAA had both agreed on their rankings as they occurred.

The planet's long-term warming trend continued in 2017, according to separate analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA report, using different methods, said 2017 was the third-warmest. Had 2017 featured an El Nino event, which warms the upper tropical Pacific Ocean, like the two proceeding years, it probably would have ranked as the warmest year on record.

Average surface temperatures in 2017 were 1.1 degree Celsius (2.0 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, creeping towards 1.5C (2.7F), the most ambitious limit for global warming set by nearly 200 nations under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Among extreme weather events previous year, the Caribbean and the United States suffered a battering from hurricanes, the Arctic ended 2017 with the least sea ice for mid-winter and tropical coral reefs suffered from high water temperatures. In order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, scientists say global temperatures must not increase more than 2 degrees Celsius.


"It's unlikely we'll ever see temperatures as cool as we had back before 2014 again", said Hausfather, who commented on the NASA and NOAA numbers and also released his own group's temperature record Thursday. Globally averaged temperatures previous year were 1.62 degrees warmed than the average from 1951 to 1980. It's the third straight year in NASA's records that temperatures have eclipsed 1 degree Celsius above temperatures in the late 19th century. Other agencies' figure were close but not quite the same.

According to federal agency's analysis, the surface temperature of the Earth was the second-warmest since 1880 (2016 was the warmest). "Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we've seen over the last 40 years", said Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt in a press release.

NOAA and NASA analyses use temperature measurements from weather stations on land and at sea. The world's nations are united in pledging to curb fossil-fuel pollution to slow global warming even after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide out the historic 2015 Paris pact.

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