According to new data from American science agencies, 2015 was the hottest year on record.
The report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Not only was last year the hottest year on record (records began in 1880), it broke the previous record held in 2014 by the widest margin ever observed.
The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces in 2015 were 0.90 Celsius above the 20th century average,” the NOAA report said.
“This was the highest among all years in the 1880 to 2015 record [and also] the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken.”
The US space agency NASA, which monitors global climate using a fleet of satellites and weather stations, confirmed that last year broke records for heat in contemporary times.
NASA said that the temperature changes are largely driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said.
“Today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice — now is the time to act on climate.”
Last year marked the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century.
Moreover, the latest finding adds to a steady rise in heat across land and sea surfaces that have seen records repeatedly broken over the years.
“Since 1997, which at the time was the warmest year on record, 16 of the subsequent 18 years have been warmer than that year,” the NOAA report said.
A separate group, Berkeley Earth — a US non-profit organisation that says it was founded by people who saw some merit in the claims of climate change sceptics — announced similar findings last week.
“For the first time in recorded history, the Earth’s temperature is clearly more than 1.0 Celsius above the 1850-1900 average,” it said.
NOAA’s announcement comes against a backdrop of the recently completed Paris climate talks, at which the goal of capping global warming at 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels was enshrined.
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