NASA Says 2016 is Hottest Year On Record
The year may only be half over, but 2016 could already be the world's hottest year on record, NASA officials said.
According to NASA's midyear climate analysis, the first six months, from January to June, have set new temperature records.
Data showed that each of the first six months of 2016 had been the warmest month globally in the modern temperature record compared with previous records. NASA officials said that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the hottest year on record.
"2016 has really blown that out of the water," Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, said in a statement, referring to the 2015 temperature records.
This year, the world's average temperature has been 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) hotter than that from the late 19th century.
According to Schmidt, El Niño might have contributed to these temperatures, but the trend is largely due to the effects of greenhouse gases.
Moreover, the record-breaking temperatures have affected the Arctic. NASA said that the trend of global warming, combined with an El Niño over the end of the previous year, resulted in the thinning of the Arctic ice. NASA said that the wintertime Arctic sea ice extent is at its lowest, at 5.6 million square miles.
The Impact of Record-High Temperatures
During the peak of the summer season, the Arctic sea-ice extent covers 40 percent less area than it had during the late 70s and early 80s, NASA officials said.
According to Schmidt, sustained high temperatures could affect the ice sheet, global sea levels, ecosystems and more.
The greening of the Arctic is a result of warming climate, where the frozen landscape had warmed enough to support vegetation and trees, Charles Miller of the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Live Science.