Earth's had it hottest year on record in 2015. Scientists from both NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced today that the average temperature around the globe in 2015 broke the previous record, which was set just last year.
The average temperature of the earth's combined land and ocean surfaces was 1.62 degree F warmer than the 20th century average, breaking 2014's record by a very wide margin.
For the continental United States, which accounts for just 1.6% of the earth's surface area, 2015 was the second warmest year on record.
In the "Lower 48", a very cold start to the year in the eastern parts of the country, including here in Michigan, was largely offset by winter warmth out west and widespread much warmer than average temperatures during the last three months of the year.
Record warmth was broadly spread around the world, with much of Europe, Asia and even South America far above long term averages.
While an unusually strong El Niño weather pattern provided a modest boost to global temperatures, global climate change is considered a larger driver of the warming.
All of the top ten hottest years in the historical record have occurred since 1998. By contrast, more than a century has passed since the globe had a record cold year (1911). Last year was also the 39th year in a row with above average global temperatures.
The modern climate record begins in 1880.