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Global climate change

Global climate highlights for 2016 are sobering

By Brett Anderson, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
9/06/2017, 12:30:30 PM

A few weeks ago while I was away on vacation, NOAA released their annual State of the Climate report.

Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights from 2016.........

--2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year on record. Records go back to 1880. Clearly, long-term warming and even a strong El Nino played a role in this impressive record.

--Global sea surface temperatures were the warmest on record as a whole for 2016, beating out the previous record set in 2015.

Global sea surface temperature anomalies compared to the 1981-2010 average.

Global sea surface temperature anomalies since 1900. Multiple databases.

--Upper ocean heat content was near a record high.

--No surprise, global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached another record high in the official database, surpassing 402 ppm.

--Sea level over most of the oceans of the world experienced higher-than-average sea level compared to the 1993-2016 average. This is likely due to a combination of long-term sea level rise, regional storminess and natural climate variability.

Global sea level since the 1990s.

--Overall, average global sea level reached a record high for 2016 as meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets combined with the thermal expansion of ocean water due to warming.

--Speaking of glaciers, mountain based glaciers continue to see a steady decline in ice mass.

Glacier mass balance, the difference between ice lost through melting and ice gained through new snowfall.

--Finally, the number of extreme hot days continues to trend upward globally.


Images courtesy of NOAA.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Global climate change