Last year was the hottest year on record, and 2016 looks to be even hotter.
Researchers at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have forecasted that the average surface temperature is going to be more this year than it was in 2015. If it does happen, it would be the first time in history that the average global temperature would break records for three years in a row.
Climatologist Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said, “It’s not unprecedented to have two years in a row of record-breaking temperatures, but in our records, we’ve never had three years in a row. If 2016 turns out to be as warm as we anticipate, that would be unprecedented in our record book.”
According to NOAA, the temperature recorded in 2015 was 14.79 degrees Celsius, around 0.29 degrees more than 2014; and 1.62 degrees higher than the average of the 20th-century. December was recorded as the warmest and wettest for the United States; with temperatures reaching 1.11 degrees Celsius above normal.
2016 is forecasted to be warmer than 2015 as the effects of the El Nino could drive the temperatures upward. El Nino is believed to be the reason for scorching temperatures this year. However, it wasn’t the only attribute to have caused such high temperatures, NASA said. In a press release, the space agency said the temperatures were “largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.”
Michael Mann, of Pennsylvania State University, said the El Nino has the potential of increasing the temperatures by a third of a degree, as reported by KXAN. “Records will happen during El Nino years due to the extra warming boost they provide,” he said. “That boost of warmth however sits upon the ramp of global warming.”
Meteorology Professor Victor Gensini, at the College of DuPage, concurred that 2016 could very well be the hottest on record. “2015 will be difficult to beat, but you say that almost every year and you get surprised,” Gensini said.