2016 was warmest year on record globally

2016 was the warmest year on record since global temperature time series started 137 years ago, according to the recently released international report State of the Climate in 2016. The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information, is an international, peer-reviewed publication released annually and is “the authoritative annual summary of the global climate published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society”. The report states this was the third consecutive year in which a new global temperature record was set. As well as this yearly record each of the eight months from January to August 2016 were record high monthly global temperatures for those months. The report details and summarizes the climate evidence for the year in time series, as well as indicating observed climate anomalies and related factors both at both the global and regional levels.

Examples from the report include the following. The average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas for 2016 was 0.94°C above the 20th century average of 13.9°C, passing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.04°C. This marks the fifth time in the 21st century a new record high annual global temperature has been set. The previous records were set in 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2015. Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C per decade since 1880 (when recording started) and at an average rate of 0.17°C per decade since 1970.

State of the Climate 2016 - Time Series
State of the Climate 2016 – Time Series

Ocean temperatures in 2016 also set a new record. The annually-averaged temperature for ocean surfaces around the world was 0.75°C higher than the 20th century average, which was 0.01°C warmer than the previous record set in 2015. Overall, annual record “warm and much warmer-than-average” temperatures were observed in parts of every major ocean basin. The report provides global (or representative) average time series for essential climate variables (or ECVs) through 2016. The ECVs include: Atmospheric Surface (air temperature, precipitation, air pressure, water vapor, wind speed and direction); Atmospheric Upper Air (earth radiation budget, temperature, water vapor, wind speed and direction); Atmospheric Composition (carbon dioxide, methane, other long-lived gases, ozone); Ocean Surface (temperature, salinity, sea level, sea ice, current, ocean color, phytoplankton); Ocean Subsurface (temperature, salinity); and Terrestrial (snow cover, albedo). The report states that the ECVs included “are considered ‘fully monitored’, in that they are observed and analyzed across much of the world, with a sufficiently long-term dataset that has peer-reviewed documentation”
Climate “anomalies” are noted throughout the report and referenced along with the time series data. The report includes an interesting graphic illustrating Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for 2016 across global regions.

State of the Climate in 2016  The full report can be downloaded via this link at the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Association, or via NOAA.

A high resolution version of the report ,and each chapter individually, can be downloaded at the American Meteorological Association via this link.

Maps and Time Series from the report can be accessed and downloaded from this link to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) of NOAA.

Citation: Blunden, J., and D. S. Arndt, Eds., 2017: State of the Climate in 2016. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98 (8), Si–S277, doi:10.1175/2017BAMSStateoftheClimate.1