The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA announced Wednesday that 2015 was the warmest year on earth since global temperatures started being officially recorded in 1880.
The average overall temperature was determined to be 58.62 degrees Fahrenheit in 2015, 1.62 degrees above the 20th century average, and .29 degrees warmer than 2014.
The independent analysis conducted by the two government agencies was backed by up climate scientists in Japan, United Kingdom, and University of California, Berkeley, who conducted their own studies.
2015 marked the fourth time in 11 years that the all-time temperature record has been broken.
December was also the tenth month in 2015 that set an all-time monthly warm temperature record, which was two degrees hotter than average, according to NOAA.
Even more impressive, the U.S. annual average temperature was above the 20th century average for the nineteenth year in a row.
Specifically, Northern Hemisphere land temperatures have been warming the fastest; in 2015, the aforementioned was 2.59 degrees above the average set in the 20th century.
Global average ocean temperatures were 1.33 degrees above the 20th century average in 2015.
“When NASA first started talking about global warming, it was in 1988,” said director NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt. “But with the record in now for 2015, 1988 is not even in the top 20 of warmest years.”
While some doubters may point to El Niño as a mitigating factor effecting this season’s temperatures, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Pennsylvania State University, Michael Mann, says the warm water currently cycling through the Pacific Ocean has helped push overall temperatures up, but only by one-third of a degree.
So, with temperatures trending upward for at least the past 35 years, climate scientists expect another record warm year in 2016, which would “be the first time that we’ve had three record-warm years in a row in the whole record,” said NASA’s Schmidt.
By comparison, the coldest year on record is 1911, and the last time the world set a record low for monthly temperature was December 1916.
Overall, the planet is 1.8 degrees warmer than it was before the Industrial Revolution of the mid-1800s.
[AP] [NPR] [Photo courtesy Scientific Visualization Studio/Goddard Space Flight Center via NASA.gov]