2016 confirmed as warmest on record

As expected 2016 has been confirmed as the warmest year on record, 1.3 degrees warmer than prior to the Industrial Revolution.

RNZ: 2016 officially the warmest year on record

Last year was the hottest on record by a wide margin, with temperatures creeping close to a ceiling set by almost 200 nations for limiting global warming, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.

The data are the first of the New Year to confirm many projections that 2016 will exceed 2015 as the warmest since reliable records began in the 19th century, it said in a report.

The Arctic was the region showing the sharpest rise in temperatures, while many other areas of the globe, including parts of Africa and Asia, also suffered unusual heat, it said.

A few parts of South America and Antarctica were cooler than normal.

Global surface temperatures in 2016 averaged 14.8°C, or 1.3° higher than estimated before the Industrial Revolution ushered in wide use of fossil fuels, the EU body said.

Temperatures last year broke a 2015 record by almost 0.2°, the climate change service said, boosted by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and by a natural El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean, which releases heat to the atmosphere.

In February 2016 alone, temperatures were 1.5° above pre-industrial times, the study said.

That’s overall world measurements.

Temperatures so far in 2017 here in southern New Zealand at least seem to be well shy of the highs, it’s been one of the coolest starts to a year I can remember. It’s not unusual to get a few cooler changes at this time of year but there seems to have been more than usual.

Of course rising worldwide temperatures will increase turbulence which could result in more cold air being dragged up from Antarctica.