2015 was the hottest year by widest margin on record

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A man walking in the summer heat in India's eastern state of Odisha. Photo/IAC

There was a good reason why you sweated a bit more than usual last year, or worried about a snowless Christmas. The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the average temperatures across global land and ocean surfaces in 2015 was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average.

“This was the highest among all 136 years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.29°F (0.16°C) and marking the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century,” the NOAA said in a statement.

This is also the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken. Ten months had record high temperatures for their respective months during the year. The five highest monthly departures from average for any month on record all occurred during 2015, it said.

Record warmth was broadly spread around the world, including 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.

During 2015, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.39°F (1.33°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.45°F (0.25°C). This is the largest margin by which the annual global land temperature has been broken, according the agency.

During 2015, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.33°F (0.74°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of last year by 0.20°F (0.11°C).

According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average annual Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during 2015 was 9.5 million square miles. This was the 11th smallest annual snow cover extent since records began in 1968 and smallest since 2008. The first half of 2015 saw generally below-normal snow cover extent, with above-average coverage later in the year.

Recent polar sea ice extent trends continued in 2015., the agency said, adding that the average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was 4.25 million square miles, the sixth smallest annual value of the 37-year period of record. The annual Antarctic sea ice extent was the third largest on record, at 4.92 million square miles, behind 2013 and 2014.

 

 

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