Scientists at NASA say, although the rise in temperature is significant, it is likely it will drop in 2017
The world has experienced the hottest global temperatures this year despite having almost another six months of 2016 remaining.
NASA’s climate analysis completed in the middle of each year has seen a significant temperature rise for each month from January to June, surpassing 2015 as the hottest year since modern records began in 1880.
Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, stated that “2016 really has blown that out of the water” when referring to 2015’s hottest record last year.
According to the data collected over the last century, NASA scientists say the planet’s average temperature has become 2.4 degrees (or 1.3 Celsius) warmer than in the late 1800s. This may not seem like a noticeable difference but the effects of the warming trend on our planet, most alarmingly the melting of the ice sheets which have been disappearing at an alarming rate over the last ten years, will have a devastating impact in the future.
Commenting on the possible reasons for the climb in temperatures this year, Schmidt says the strong El Niño that occurred earlier this year – where the warmer Pacific Ocean releases heat into the atmosphere – could have pushed the temperatures up more than expected. This could mean lower temperatures for 2017 but still alarmingly high compared to previous data. However, the gradual rise over the past four decades has been largely down to carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases and this is something we can’t ignore.
The main concern is the Artic where sea ice covers 40 percent less areas than it did in the 1970s and 1980s and continuing temperature rises will cause further ice melt, global sea levels and ecosystems. This is shown in the greening of the Arctic where the landscape is forming into a new ecosystem able to sustain green vegetation over the typical icy conditions.
NASA’s Walt Meir commented: “It has been a record year so far for global temperatures, but the record high temperatures in the Arctic over the past six months have been even more extreme. This warmth as well as unusual weather patterns have led to the record-low sea ice extents so far this year.”