The data are the first of the New Year to confirm many projections that 2016 will exceed 2015 as the warmest since reliable records began in the 19th century, it said in a report.
The Arctic was the region showing the sharpest rise in temperatures, while many other areas of the globe, including parts of Africa and Asia, also suffered unusual heat, it said.
A few parts of South America and Antarctica were cooler than normal.
Global surface temperatures in 2016 averaged 14.8 degrees Celsius (58.64°F), or 1.3C (2.3F) higher than estimated before the Industrial Revolution ushered in wide use of fossil fuels, the EU body said.
In 2015, almost 200 nations agreed at a summit in Paris to limit global warming to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial times while pursuing efforts to hold the rise to 1.5C as part of a sweeping shift away from fossil fuels towards clean energy.
Temperatures last year broke a 2015 record by almost 0.2C (0.36F), Copernicus said, boosted by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and by a natural El Nino weather event in the Pacific Ocean, which releases heat to the atmosphere.
In February 2016 alone, temperatures were 1.5C above pre-industrial times, the study said. Rising heat is blamed for stoking wildfires, heat waves, droughts, floods and more powerful downpours that disrupt water and food supplies.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the main authority on global temperatures, compiles data mainly from two US and one British dataset that will be published in coming weeks. It also uses input from Copernicus.