Global warming is real, according to NASA, which actually knows this stuff

Global warming is real, according to NASA, which actually knows this stuff

Scientists say a year ago wasn't quite as hot as 2016's record-shattering mark, but it ranked either second or third, depending on who was counting. This was the third highest among all years in the 1880-2017 record, behind the warmest 2016 and the second warmest 2015.

The two government agencies use different methodologies to calculate global temperatures, but by either standard, the 2017 results make the past four years the hottest period in their 138-year archive.

In November 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the year was likely to rank second hottest, noting that average global temperatures from January to September peaked above preindustrial levels by 1.98 degrees F (1.1 degrees C), Live Science previously reported.

"Despite colder-than-average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we've seen over the last 40 years", said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

The trend is seen most dramatically in the Arctic, NASA said, as sea ice continues to melt. 2017, in contrast, merely stayed within the elevated temperature range that these prior years had already established.

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"The most recent global temperature observations are in line with what we expected, both from our underlying theory, but also our model projections and understanding of the climate system", said Dr Dann Mitchell, Natural Environment Research Council research fellow at the University of Bristol.

2017 was unequivocally the warmest year on record that was not influenced by the periodic El Nino phenomenon, which releases added warmth from the Pacific Ocean and was present in the record warm years of 2015 and 2016.

"This heat had built up since the 1990s mainly due to greenhouse-gas forcing and possible remote oceanic effects", said the scientists who authored the study from the University of Arizona, Princeton University, GFDL/NOAA and the University of MI. And "both analyses show that the five warmest years on record have all taken place since 2010", NASA said in a press release.

In addition to the official USA agencies, a number of additional expert outlets have tracked temperatures and found results consistent with those of NOAA and NASA. "It's really warming faster than anywhere on earth". However, the two reports agree that Earth is undergoing a long-term warming trend that shows no sign of abating, and that rising temperatures are driven by human activity, largely through the production of greenhouse gasses.

The globe hasn't had a cooler-than-average year since 1976 - a stretch of 41 consecutive warm years - NOAA said. But another way to track the planet's warming is to analyze the temperature of the atmosphere at a significantly higher elevation, in the so-called "lower troposphere" extending from a little above the planet's surface to several miles into the air.

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