WASHINGTON (January 20, 2016)—NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that 2015 was the hottest year worldwide on record.
Below is a statement by Astrid Caldas, climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
“The announcement doesn’t come as a surprise, as month after month records were being broken all around the world.
“According to NOAA, 2015 beat the previous warmest year, 2014, by 0.29°F, the largest margin ever recorded. Since NASA calculates global temperatures in a slightly different way, it found that 2015 beat the 2014 record by 0.23°F and tied 1998 for the amount the new record surpassed the old. It’s significant that 2015 was hotter than the previous record by so much in both calculations because it points to a strong warming trend that’s been observed lately.
“2015 is the 39th consecutive year in which temperatures have been higher than the 20th century average. To put that into perspective, everyone born after 1976 has lived their whole life in higher-than-average temperatures. In addition, the 10 warmest years since temperature recording started in 1880 have occurred in the 21st century. This trend needs to be reversed if we’re to keep global warming below 2°C, the goal of the international climate agreement struck in Paris and the number that scientists believe will avoid irreversible changes to Earth’s systems.
“This new record highlights how critical it was to get an agreement in Paris and the importance of countries not only following through on their commitments, but going further. A massive ramp-up of renewable- and low-carbon- energy will be essential to stay within 2°C of warming and avoid new records being set.”
See a related blog by Rachel Cleetus, lead economist at UCS, about a World Economic Forum report that found climate change tops the list of potential risks to the global economy.