The records highlighted in the “State of the Climate in 2016” report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sound ominous.
• Global land surface temperatures last year were highest in 137 years of record keeping.
• Sea surface temperatures were also at their highest.
• Sea levels were at record highs in the 24 years that satellite record keeping has been used.
• Greenhouse gas marks rose faster than any year and carbon dioxide readings were above a 400 parts per million average for the year for the first time.
NOAA’s report pointed out that the heat in 2016 resulted from a strong El Niño early in the year and long-term global warming.
El Niños are weather phenomena that warm the Pacific Ocean and pump lots of excess heat into the atmosphere, raising temperatures.
They are only one factor in the warming of the planet. Climate scientists have said the role of an El Niño is a relatively small one when compared to the role that humans play.