The calculations are in, and 2015 was the warmest year on record, ever since data collection on the planet’s surface land and ocean temperatures began in 1880, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday.
The government agencies’ twin announcement today followed early bird reports in November from the United Nation’s weather agency that found 2015 to be an extremely warm year, enough to best 2014’s record heat. Both of NASA and NOAA’s independent measurements came to the same conclusion.
NASA reported that 2015 was 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2014, according to data from 6,300 weather stations and observations from ships and buoys that measured land and ocean temperatures. NOAA recorded a slightly larger difference with 2015 being 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2014.
Piling on the evidence, NOAA also said 2015 was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, the highest in 136 years of record-keeping. NASA said 15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
NOAA said 10 months last year registered as the hottest for their respective months. 2015 was marked with these several dubious signposts when it was announced March 2015 surpassed previous records set for that month. The same thing happened in Julyand September.
And then the year was capped off with a powerful El Nino event that led to unseasonably warm storms during the holiday season, including the appearance of Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation,” NASA’s Charles Bolden said in a statement released Wednesday, adding that today’s announcement “is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice — now is the time to act on climate.”
Nearly 200 countries agreed in late December to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels. The planet’s average temperature is currently about 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.