According to NOAA, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average throughout 2015. This years average global temperature surpassed all previous years in the 1880-2015 record and beat the previous record that was set in 2014 by 0.29°F (0.16°C).
“This record year really is just emphasizing the fact that there is a very, very strong long-term trend in temperature that we have associated very strongly with the human emissions of greenhouse gases,” Schmidt, an NOAA Analyst says.
The margin by which 2015 broke the previous record set in 2014 was the largest margin by which an annual global temperature record has been broken. Throughout 2015, ten months had record high temperatures for their respective months. The five highest monthly departures from average for any month on record all occurred throughout 2015. 1997 set the record for the warmest year on record, but since then 16 of the subsequent years have been warmer than that year.
“It is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing,” says Schmidt.
NOAA predicted that 2015 would be a record warm year and it doesn’t look like that warming trend will end here because 2016 is predicted to remain consistent and set another record for warmest year on record. On land, average surface temperature was 2.39°F (1.33°C) above the 20th century average, which surpassed the previous record set in 2007 by 0.45°F (0.25°C). This on land data helps explain the troubles that the west coast ski areas experienced in early 2015 and the troubles that the east coast ski areas experienced in late 2015.
“We actually anticipate that 2016 might also be a record-warm year, and that will be the first time that we’ve had three record-warm years in a row in the whole record,” says Schmidt.