Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

U.S. report confirms 2016 as warmest year on record

U.S. report confirms 2016 as warmest year on record

The records highlighted in the "State of the Climate in 2016" report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sound ominous.

Of course decisions are also being made by the Trump administration to reverse efforts to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions, including moves to roll back President Barack Obama's biggest effort to cut carbon pollution and to pull the USA out of the global Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

The "State of the Climate" publication, which confirms findings released before President Donald Trump was sworn in, outlines the observed outcomes of swiftly rising temperatures.

The report includes science from almost 60 countries and will appear in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and on NOAA social media feeds. Globally, temperatures were up nearly a full degree over the average measured from 1981 to 2010.

"It's not clear what the news is in this story", Robert Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University who is listed on the report as among the lead authors, said on Twitter.

Global sea level has risen for six straight years, with the highest rates of increase seen in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. It was 3.5 parts per million higher than the previous year, the biggest jump in the 58 years it has been recorded. This, in the opinion of NOAA, could be attributed to a strong El Niño early in the year and long-term global warming. "The huge flood along the Front Range in the Denver-Boulder area in 2013 has now been confirmed to have the rainfall increased by 30 percent due to human-induced climate change".

Antarctic had a record low sea ice extent.

The arctic experienced an even more extreme year, the report explains, and as a result sea ice had its worst growth season in the 37-year satellite record, tying with 2015 at 7.2% below the 1981-2010 average.

A final draft of the assessment was posted online by the New York Times, which reported that scientists are anxious the Trump Administration might try to change or suppress it.

President Trump has not talked directly about the science since taking office, but on the Hugh Hewitt radio show in 2015 he said: "I'm not a believer in man-made global warming". Kopp's colleague Katharine Hayhoe likewise tweeted, "Important to point out that this report was already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review & comment time".

The NOAA worldwide report showed that 2016 is the hottest year over the past decades. There are both natural and human events that make temperature changes cluster together, such as climate patterns like El Niño, the solar cycle and volcanic eruptions, according to Mann.

"The American people deserve an honest, open, transparent discussion about this supposed threat to this country", Pruitt said on a North Dakota radio show Wednesday. The average surface temperature of the planet has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2.0 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, and the past 35 years have seen a majority of the warming, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001, according to NASA.

The agency said the aim of the report was purely "diagnostic".

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