2016: Hottest year on record
2016 recorded as the hottest year globally. The analysis based on data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit confirms it.
The record high temperature tops the chart beating exceptionally high temperature records set in 2015.
Well, this came as no surprise as the first half of 2016 was exceptionally hotter than average, blowing away all temperature records, topped off by record hot month of June.
According to NOAA, June was recorded 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average and 0.79°C (1.42°F) above the 1951-1980 average.
2016 is the third consecutive year setting up a new annual global temperature record.
In 2016, the global average temperature anomaly is around 1.1°C – which is indicative of pre-industrial temperatures when compared with the 1850 to 1900 baseline.
In December 2015 the U.K. Met Office predicted that 2016 would be record warm, between 0.72 and 0.96 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1961-1990) average. Their recent announcement on 12th January reports 2016 0.77℃ above average is within the predicted range.
Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, predicted 2016 net warming to be about 1.3 ℃ above late-19th century temperatures – remarkably close to today’s reported 1.1℃ rise.
El Niño Events
A particularly strong El Niño event, a weather phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean pushed up global overall temperatures, in the early months of 2016.
“The El Niño event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016, which is about 1.1°C above the long-term average from 1850 to 1900,” said Peter Stott the Met Office Hadley Centre’s acting director as reported by New Scientist.
It should be noted that the record fuelled high temperatures added to 2016 warmth are not due to El Niño alone. Indeed, El Niño years are becoming warmer, as are those with a La Niña, due to the overall warming trend from rising green house gas concentrations.
Image: NOAA National Centres for Environmental Information
Link to Global Warming?
While 2016 got a boost from an exceptionally strong El Niño. However, the main contributor and other long-term indicators to overall increase to warming over the past 150 years is mostly due to human influence on climate. Also, from increasing levels of greenhouse gases which reached new heights in 2016.
The melting ice raising global sea levels, as a consequence disrupting ecosystems leading to extreme climatic events.
So what’s next?
So what are the reports predicting about 2017? The early influence of La Niña in 2017 is pivotal in predicting the course of warmth this year.
In its January 12 update, NOAA forecasted a transition from weak La Nina to neutral conditions by February 2017. It is expected to continue through the first half of 2017.
So the predictions for 2017 – including the range of uncertainties – can expect a slightly cooler year than 2016, but still among some of the hottest years on record.
Image:UK Met Office