The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2015 is the 2nd hottest year on record as NOAA and NASA are about to announce that 2015 was the hottest recorded year for the planet as a whole.
The global trend is much to do with the strongest El Nino on record along with man made climate changes.
At the end of November, the US was having its 5th warmest year on record. December turned in a record performance to bump 2015 up to the 2nd all-time high with average temperatures 6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average making it the warmest December in US history.
2012 holds the record for warmest year in the US which average 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 2015. Official temperature records date back to 1895.
According to NOAA, this was the 19th consecutive year that the overall US temperature exceeded the 20th century average.
December’s heat can be attributed to a confluence of factors including El Nino, climate patterns of the North Atlantic and manmade factors.
“December 2015 really blew away the competition,” NOAA climatologist Jake Crouch said. For the first time, December set simultaneous records for the hottest and wettest months.
It was a tale of two halves. While the east was getting record heat in December, the west was relatively cool. During the early part of 2015, the oppostive was true, the west was heating up while the east was in drought. This pattern is the opposite of what occurs most years, resulting in above-average annual temperature.
As a whole the globe saw incredible warmth, especially the oceans. The Pacific Ocean had the strongest El Nino event in recorded history. The Climate Central analysis indicates that this year’s record heat is due to greenhouse gases that are trapping heat from leaving the atmosphere.
14 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred in the 20th century, while the last record setting cold year was 1911. This new record may not stand for long as the U.K. Met Office shows that a strong El Nino in place, 2016 could end up beating 2015.
While the record setting may not continue year over year, it certainly shows a trend of an increasingly warmer earth.