This one's for the history books: a group of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have proclaimed 2015 to be the hottest year on record.
A report published by the organization states that this year more or less broke all of the records for warmest average temperature since 1880, the first year that global temp records were inaugurated annually. Part of this has to do with El Niño, an annually recurring weather pattern that warms up oceanic water surface during the chillier months, and part of it is a result of human environmental damage — i.e., greenhouse gas emissions.
As per the study, the average global temperature was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the worldwide norm on both land and sea, and a land surface temp 2.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the usual.
Areas affected most by the heat were "Central America, the northern half of South America, parts of northern, southern, and eastern Europe stretching into western Asia, a large section of east central Siberia, regions of eastern and southern Africa, large parts of the northeastern and equatorial Pacific, a large swath of the western North Atlantic, most of the Indian Ocean, and parts of the Arctic Ocean," stated the study — so more or less everywhere.
While 2015's annual temperature might be a record-breaker, it's not necessarily a welcome one. The fact that this year usurped the last warmest year on record — 2014 — scientists think that the cause might be mostly due to global warming, and that we've already wreaked permanent damage on our planet.
"The whole system is warming up, relentlessly," said NOAA scientist Gerald A. Meehl in an interview with the New York Times.
Despite their heavily informed theorizing, it's too soon for scientists to take their concerns out of the realm of hypotheses — but that doesn't mean they won't keep their eyes peeled in the future for general analysis.
"Is there any evidence for a pause in the long-term global warming rate?" added NASA climate-science unit head Gavin A. Schmidt. "The answer is no. That was true before last year, but it's much more obvious now."
Via: New York Times
Photo: Matthias Rhomberg | Flickr