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NOAA climate report says 2017 was crazy hot and greenhouse gassy

NASA released this global heat visualization earlier this year as part of its own report on 2017 global temperatures.


NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Cue Martha & the Vandellas singing Heatwave. A global team of scientists crunched the numbers, and 2017 turned out to be a year for the record books. 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information compiled the 28th annual State of the Climate report. It released the sizzling hot data this week. 

It turns out 2017 was at least the third warmest year on record behind reigning champion 2016 and runner-up 2015. 

NOAA says the “average global surface temperatures were 0.68-0.86 of a degree F (0.38-0.48 of a degree C) above the 1981-2010 average.” Depending on the dataset, that puts 2017 in either second or third place in the record books, which date back to the 1800s.

The study, published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, pulls its data from the work of over 500 scientists in 65 countries. The report covers everything from global temperatures to drought conditions and loss of ice in the Antarctic.

The NOAA chart shows the number of days with extreme heat worldwide dating back to 1950.


NOAA

It’s not just the overall global temperature that stands out about 2017. The study says 2017 had the highest levels of greenhouse gasses on record. The 2017 average global carbon dioxide concentration was “the highest measured in the modern 38-year global climate record and records created from ice-core samples dating back as far as 800,000 years,” NOAA says.

Sea level rise hit a new high at 3 inches (7.7 centimeters) higher than the 1993 average, which ties in with a climate assessment report from June that points to the role of increasing ice melt in the Antarctic. Sea surface temperatures reached a near-record high, part of a long-term warming trend in the oceans.

The State of the Climate report says coral bleaching continued through 2017. “More than 95 percent of coral in some affected reef areas died,” NOAA says.

This may all sound a bit apocalyptic, but it doesn’t come as a surprise to scientists who’ve been tracking climate change over the years. We’ll have to wait until around this time next year to see where 2018 fits into the big picture.

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