Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 0.99 degrees Celsius (1.78 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the mid-20th century mean. This makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016) NOAA.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year - from January through September, with the exception of June - were the warmest on record for those respective months. October, November, and December of 2016 were the second warmest of those months on record - in all three cases, behind records set in 2015 NPR, Jan 2017

The warming was truly global. “Some part of every continent, and some part of every major ocean basin was warmest on record” Arndt says, adding that in the United States, only Georgia and Alaska had record-setting warmth but “pretty much the entire country was above normal, and well above normal.” NPR, Jan 2017

“The long-term warming is driven almost entirely by greenhouse gases” Arndt says. “We’ve seen a warming trend related to greenhouse gases for four, five, six decades now”. NPR, Jan 2017.

Two graphs that shows the time evolution of globally-averaged temperatues are:

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