A global warming spiral shows 165 years of climate change in a stunning new animation. This newly produced GIF displays how our planet has grown warmer since the middle of the 19th century.

The year 2015 is the hottest on record, breaking the previous record in 2014. So far, 2016 is already shaping up to be even warmer than the current mark. According to researchers at NASA, 15 of the 16 hottest years since record-keeping began have occurred since 2001.

In December 2015, 195 nations from around the globe agreed to limit global warming to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) over the rest of the 21st century. Some climatologists believe that rising temperatures need to be limited even further - to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) - in order to prevent serious damage to the environment.

The new animation shows how average global temperatures have changed over the course of 165 years. Total warming over the first year is shown as the spiral grows.

"The animated spiral presents global temperature change in a visually appealing and straightforward way. The pace of change is immediately obvious, especially over the past few decades. The relationship between current global temperatures and the internationally discussed target limits are also clear without much complex interpretation needed," Ed Hawkins from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading said.

Modern record-keeping of temperatures around the globe began in 1880. However, weather stations and recording methods change over time, leading to some uncertainty in the collected data. In 2015, global temperatures were measured to be 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit above what was recorded in 2014. However, because of the uncertainty in measurements, NASA officials believe there is just a 94 percent chance it was the warmest year on record.

"Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA's vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth. Today's announcement not only underscores how critical NASA's Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate, " Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, stated in a press release.

Over the last 165 years, Earth's temperature has risen 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, with most of that change taking place over the last 35 years.

The full animation may be viewed on Twitter.

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