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2016 Expected to be Hottest Year in Recorded History

It comes as little surprise that a year with month-after-month record-breaking heat waves, 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded. While the year isn’t closed out yet, the data is overwhelming and climatologists are confident December will hold the pattern.

This year will mark the third consecutive “hottest year on record” which is a frightening thought. And for those keeping track, 16 out of 17 of the hottest years have occurred in the new millennium.

Worst Case Scenario for Climate is at our Doorstep

With the limited exception of a single political party, the global and scientific communities firmly understand that human activity has been driving climate change through the reckless release of greenhouse gases.

Nations of the world came together in Paris in 2015 to negotiate what is now called the Paris Climate Agreement. That agreement established a structure of financing and accountabilities for nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 197 countries signed the agreement.

It was established in the Paris Climate Agreement that exceeding a global temperature increase of 1.5OC (over historic figures) would dramatically increase the risk that the damage would be unrepairable. It was expected that it would take years if not decades to reach that limit.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published the results of their 2016 data analysis. Unfortunately, 2016 marks the point where the planet has reached a 1.2OC increase.

Contributing Factors to 2016 Heat Waves

Greenhouse gas emissions are a primary driver in the sustained increase in global temperatures as well as the other dramatic effects of climate change. This situation was exacerbated by a powerful El Niño weather system that held temperatures even higher in the early months. April 2016 was the hottest on record.

“Another year. Another record. The extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared. The heat from global warming will continue. Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has risen,” he said. “‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular.” – WMO secretary-general, Petteri Taalas.

The El Niño event is over, so 2017 is not projected to be as hot a year as 2016; however, it is still expected to be well above average.

The analysis conducted by WMO combines data from multiple sources including NASA. There’s no telling how future analysis will be impacted since president-elect Trump has announced his intent to defund climate study from NASA’s budget.