The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration finally released its annual international report on the state of the climate, and the compiled report shows that 2016 beat 2015 as the warmest year on record. What's worse is it seems the rise in temperatures will continue.
Similar trends for key climate change indicators have also been recorded and most, if not all, of them reflect the planet's continued warming, and have broken previously set records in their own categories.
With peer-reviewed contributions from 468 scientists from 64 countries, "State of the Climate in 2016" is a pretty grim evidence of global warming and climate change.
Record Highs And Lows
According to the international report released on Aug. 10, the year 2016 has set the newest record for highest air temperature, highest sea surface temperature, highest rise in sea levels, highest concentration of carbon emissions, and most extensive drought worldwide.
The only record 2016 placed second on is the category on retreating sea ice, but records still show that the Arctic land temperature was 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degree Celsius) higher than the 1981 to 2010 average.
Below are some highlights [PDF] from the publication released by NOAA.
According to the report, the planet increased in temperature by 0.81 to 1.01 degrees Fahrenheit in 2016 and was, in part, due to the El Nino phenomenon that occurred earlier in the year. This is true for air temperatures over both land and sea all over the world.
— NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAANCEIclimate) Aug. 10, 2017
Sea And Ice
Since the air temperature over the sea is at an all-time high in 2016, it only follows that the seas would get affected as well. Data sets and reports from scientists studying the climate's effect on the sea plotted a 0.65 to 0.74 degrees Fahrenheit increase in sea surface temperature, which is actually higher by 0.02 to 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit from 2015 records.
#StateOfClimate2016 Global average sea level was about 3.25 inches (82 mm) higher than the 1993 average: https://t.co/zSh5kjghvR pic.twitter.com/kiwgtYrSG2 — NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAANCEIclimate) Aug. 10, 2017
Records from satellite data show that 2016 plotted the second lowest glacial cover on the planet. In relation to that, global sea levels saw a 3.25-inch rise when compared with 1993 records, which was when sea level recording began.
One of the biggest concerns with climate change is curbing global carbon emissions but the NOAA publication shows that global greenhouse gas emissions — including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane — already surpassed 2015 levels. Carbon dioxide, for instance, saw a 3.5 parts per million increase, plotting 402.9 ppm in 2016. 2016 also recorded 328.9 ppb of nitrous oxide while methane emissions reached 1843.4 ppb.
— NOAA (@NOAA) Aug. 10, 2017
One can only wonder how to slow down or stop this trend after the United States pulled out of the Paris climate change agreement.
Drought And Extreme Weather
Of course, the warming land, sea, and air have a huge effect on the environment, and one of the most noticeable effects is the rise in extreme weather.
According to the report, about a third of global land was affected by severe drought and heat waves, which contributed to wild fires.
There were also other extreme weather disturbances such as very active and stronger-than-average tropical cyclones. There were 93 tropical cyclones recorded in 2016 — 11 more than the 1981 to 2010 average of 82 cyclones per year — including the category 5 hurricane Matthew which dealt approximately 600 fatalities.
Extremes Are Not Surprising With Climate Change
The condition of the Earth in 2016 is already proof that climate change is not a hoax and, while extreme climate patterns are worrisome, they are not really unexpected anymore.
"With climate change, this is the kind of thing we would expect to see. And without climate change, we really would not expect to see it," Pennsylvania State University climate change scientist and lead author Michael Mann said.