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2016 Is The Second Warmest Year On Record For US, Scope Deemed ‘Unparalleled’

10 January 2017, 7:20 am EST By Katrina Pascual Tech Times
Last year was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-usual year for the U.S., with an average warming rate of 0.15 degrees Fahrenheit every decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.   ( David McNew | Getty Images )

For the United States, 2016 ranked second warmest in records dating back 1895, with every single state and city in the Lower 48 states warmer than usual last year.

Average temperature in the nation during that time was 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit — almost 3 degrees more than long-term average. The warmest year for the country was 2012, which had an average temperature of 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Record Highs In Temperature And Rainfall

Last year was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-usual year, with an average warming rate of 0.15 degree Fahrenheit every decade, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.

Dubbing 2016 “a year of temperature and precipitation extremes,” the NOAA said that every state registered one of their top 7 warmest years on record.

“The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation's climate history,” the agency wrote.

Thirty-four U.S. cities logged their warmest year on file, including New Orleans, Houston, Nashville, Atlanta, New York (La Guardia), El Paso, and Barrow (Alaska). Alaska registered its warmest year for the third time in as many years, with nearly 6 degrees above average in temperature, still climbing at a rate of 0.3 degrees each decade.

The country also saw extreme rainfall, with a number of severe rainfall events adjudged as 1 in 1,000 year happenings, including torrential rains in northern Louisiana in March and eastern North Carolina in October brought about by Hurricane Matthew. “Catastrophic flooding” also hit Louisiana back in August, with losses from four inland flooding events in Texas, West Virginia, and Louisiana exceeding $15 billion.

2016 And Succeeding Years As Warmest On File

The United States, however, does not have a monopoly of unusually warm temperatures, as NOAA and NASA are poised to announce 2016 as the warmest year on record around the world for the third time in many years.

Based on nearly four decades’ worth of satellite temperature measurements, the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama already hailed 2016 as the warmest year in the last 38 years, ousting the year 1998 from the said slot. It was warmer by +0.02 degrees Celsius compared to 1998.

As temperature trends from satellite data are a bit lower than those reflected by temperature readings across the world, other groups are expected to pronounce 2016 as the warmest year. The question, said the science center’s director John Christy, is whether this means anything scientifically.

“Both 1998 and 2016 are anomalies, outliers, and in both cases, we have an easily identifiable cause for that anomaly: A powerful El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event.” Not really, he believed.

The focus, as far as temperature is concerned, is on long-term trends rather than phenomena such as El Niño, he added.

Predictions for 2017, though, still remain glum, as this year is expected to be among the hottest in over 130 years’ worth of record. El Niño might be over, but this year will still continue to sizzle, the UK Met Office said.

Every new year is practically poised to become the warmest on record based on the rising temperatures caused by global warming, warned the Deke Ardnt, head of the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information’s climate monitoring office.

Scientists also recently urged everyone to forget about the so-called global warming pause, as oceans steadily warm and negate claims of a climate change hiatus.

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