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Earth sets heat record for third straight year — The Boston Globe

By Seth Borenstein (AP)

WASHINGTON — Earth sizzled to a third-straight record hot year in 2016, with scientists mostly blaming man-made global warming with help from a natural El Niño that’s now gone.

Two US agencies and international weather groups reported Wednesday that last year was the warmest on record. They measure global temperatures in slightly different ways and came up with a range of increases, from minuscule to what top US climate scientists described as substantial.

NOAA said the average global temperature for 2016 was 58.69 degrees — 0.07 degrees warmer than 2015.

NASA’s figures, which include more of the Arctic, are 0.22 degrees warmer than data recorded in 2015.

The Arctic ‘‘was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else,’’ said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, where the space agency monitors global temperatures.

The British meteorological office determined that 2016 barely beat 2015 by 0.018 degrees (0.01 Celsius). The World Meteorological Organization and other monitoring groups agreed that 2016 was a record, with the international weather agency chief Petteri Taalas saying ‘‘temperatures only tell part of the story’’ of extreme warming.

‘‘This is clearly a record,’’ he said. ‘‘We are now no longer only looking at something that only scientists can see, but is apparent to people in our daily lives.’’

Temperature records go back to 1880. This is the fifth time in a dozen years that the globe has set a new annual heat record. Records have been set in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2005.

Original article
Analysis by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

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