2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year due to the lingering influence of El Niño and long-term global warming. Climate map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2016 was the hottest year on record and other takeaways from NOAA’s new climate report

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2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year due to the lingering influence of El Niño and long-term global warming. Climate map by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Last year was the hottest on record, according to a new report from the American Meteorological Society.

The group's annual State of the Climate report, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found global temperatures and the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere hit record highs in 2016.

A combination of climate change and a strong El Niño contributed to temperatures that were approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit hotter than the average temperatures from 1981 to 2010, the report says.

The nearly 300-page report is a collaboration between about 500 scientists from more than 60 countries around the world.

Here are some other takeaways from the report:

  • For the third consecutive year, U.S. temperatures have reached record highs. The report notes that 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
  • Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased last year by 3.5 parts per million, the largest single year increase in the 58 years on record. The increase also put CO2 levels over the 400 parts per million threshold — a symbolic "red line" that scientists warn has not been crossed in more than 800,000 years and means the planet is entering a danger zone when it comes to climate change.
  • Sea surface temperatures and global sea levels were also higher than any other year on record. This marks the sixth consecutive year global sea level has increased.
  • Arctic and Antarctic regions in particular experienced warmth, leading to less sea ice. Worldwide, ice and snow cover are in decline, and this year, the Larsen C ice shelf broke off Antarctica, becoming one of the largest icebergs on record.
  • Extreme climates, including major flooding and extreme drought, were other consequences of rising global temperatures.

Editor's Note: This report is unaffiliated with a climate report cited by The New York Times earlier this week, which drew wide-ranging controversy due to editorial errors.

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