Climate report: Earth hotter, seas higher

Human-caused warming likely led to recent streak of record-breaking temperatures

A report compiled by a U.S. government agency has confirmed that 2016 was the warmest year on record and the third year in a row of record global warmth.

The report is a peer-reviewed annual series led by NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information and the American Meteorological Society, and is based on contributions from almost 500 scientists from more than 60 countries.

The temperature record had been reported in the beginning of the year by the United States and numerous other counterpart agencies around the world.

That means human-caused climate change is very likely to blame for the three consecutive record-hot years, according to the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

It says that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of recordkeeping.

The report came out just days after The New York Times published a draft US government report on climate, which said that the average temperature in the United States had risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and that recent decades had been the warmest in the past 1,500 years.


The authors of the leaked study disagree with that stance, writing in the report: "Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change". The average surface temperature of the planet has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.0 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, and the past 35 years have seen a majority of the warming, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001, according to NASA.

The Earth set a series of dire records in 2016, including hottest year in modern times, highest sea level and most heat-trapping gases ever emitted, a global climate report said on Thursday.

"Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity and life on Earth", it added. The report is congressionally mandated every four years. The numbers are the differences from the pre-industrial era, calculated as the average mean surface temperature of 1880-1899.

Northeastern Brazil marked its fifth consecutive year of drought, the longest dry spell on record in this region.

Scientists aimed to show patterns and trends of the global climate system and concluded that the findings confirmed the warming of the planet.

The Antarctic, too, experienced record low sea ice coverage, and overall, there was less snow and ice on planet Earth than normal a year ago.

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