First Half of 2016 Blows Away Temperature Records
The first half of 2016 has blown away temperature records, capped off by a record hot June, once again bumping up the odds that 2016 will be the hottest year on record globally, according to data released Tuesday.
The monthly numbers from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration puts the planet on track to surpass 2015 as the hottest on record.
“2016 has really blown that out of the water,” Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said.
While 2016 has gotten a boost from an exceptionally strong El Niño, the record temps are mostly the result of the excess heat that has built up in Earth’s atmosphere due to accumulating greenhouse gases. That heat is raising global sea levels, disrupting ecosystems and leading to more extreme weather events.
Every month this year has been record warm globally. Several months early in the year were among the first ever recorded to exceed 1°C (1.8°F) above average.
With the demise of El Niño, those temperature departures have dropped slightly, but are still at record-high levels. June was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average according to NOAA and 1.42°F (0.79°C) above the 1951-1980 average, according to NASA. (June was also record warm for the contiguous U.S., in part because of an intense, record-breaking heat wave that swept the Southwest.)
In NOAA’s records, that makes an unprecedented 14 consecutive record-hot months. While that streak will eventually end, Deke Arndt, the head of the climate monitoring division at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said that the long-term warming trend is stll clear.