It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record.
The average recorded temperature across the surface of the planet was so far above normal that it set a record for setting records, Bloomberg reports.
The year was more than a quarter of a degree fahrenheit warmer than the last global heat record set in 2014, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A quarter of a degree is a huge leap in planetary terms. Most previous records were measured by hundredths of a degree.
A powerful El Niño is largely responsible for the year’s extremes and this is what global warming looks like, NOAA said.
Temperatures are rising 10 times faster than during the bounceback from the last ice age.
Fifteen of the hottest 16 years on record have come in the 21st century.
The heat during 2015 was relentless.
Monthly records were broken for every month except January (second hottest) and April (third hottest).
The year ended with an exclamation point in December, recording the most extreme departure for any month on record.
Results from the world’s top monitoring agencies vary slightly, but NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the UK’s Met Office all agree that 2015 was unprecedented.
The heat was experienced differently around the world but most regions were unusually warm to downright scorching for much of the year.
The El Niño weather pattern of 2015 produced some of the hottest temperatures ever witnessed across swaths of the equatorial Pacific.
Across the globe, El Niño triggered powerful typhoons, spoiled cocoa harvests in Africa and contributed to vast fires in Indonesia.
California is getting pummeled with floods, and residents on the US East Coast are bracing for an El Niño fueled snow dump this weekend.
El Niño has peaked but may carry on through late spring or early summer, according to the US Climate Prediction Center.
The heat that is dispersed into the atmosphere during an El Niño can linger, which means 2016 could be yet another record hot year worldwide.
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