2016 was hottest year for Earth – again

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – For the third consecutive year, it was a record warm year for our planet. The records fell fast with every month from January to August in 2016 experiencing record warm heat since record-keeping began in 1880.

El Niño helped to fuel part of this heat as it is associated with warmer temperatures for the globe overall. As we made our way into the later part of the year and La Niña (associated with cooler global temperatures) began to take over, it just wasn’t enough to counteract the record setting pace earlier in the year. In fact, while December didn’t break the record for warmest December, it did come in third, and that was with La Niña in full force.

The average temperature across our planet (both land and water) was 58.69°F last year. This broke the record set in 2015 by 0.07°F. Scientists from both NASA and NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information found 2016 to be the warmest year in separate studies.

In addition to being the warmest year, the average Arctic sea ice was 3.92 million square miles. While this sound like a large area, it’s actually the smallest annual average since Arctic sea ice records began in 1979. Antarctic sea ice experienced its second smallest annual average.

heatwave in the city and hand showing thermometer