2016 was warmest year on record: Study

  • 2016 was the warmest year on record, with global average temperature 0.2 degrees celsius higher than 2015, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) has confirmed.
  • This is the first of a series of announcements by various climate agencies including NASA and the World Meteorological Organisationthat will come next week.
  • What is alarming about the latest data is that it puts global warming at about 1.3 degrees C higher than the mid-18th century which is considered as the pre-industrial baseline.
  • The Paris Accord of 2015 had agreed on holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2?°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5?°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • The latest data shows that the planet is already at the brink of crossing the 1.5 degrees C red line.
  • C3S also found that 2016 was the first year CO2 levels did not return below 400 ppm as summer turned to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. In previous years, take-up of CO2 by vegetation during the summer growing season has typically seen September mark the lowest point for CO2 levels.


  • Copernicus is the European Commission’s flagship earth observation programme that delivers freely accessible operational data and information services.
  • Copernicus temperature data are based on millions of diverse daily measurements analysed by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) using methods developed for weather forecasting.

Global warming

  • Global warming increases the likelihood of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and floods. Future warming could cause billions of euro of damage each year and affect the availability of fresh water and crop yields in the most vulnerable countries.
  • “We are already seeing around the globe the impacts of a changing climate.
  • Land and sea temperatures are rising along with sea-levels, while the world’s sea-ice extent, glacier volume and snow cover are decreasing; rainfall patterns are changing and climate-related extremes such as heatwaves, floods and droughts are increasing in frequency and intensity for many regions.
  • The future impact of climate change will depend on the effort we make now, in part achieved by better sharing of climate knowledge and information.

C3S-Copernicus Climate Change Service

  • C3S found that global temperatures in February 2016 already touched the 1.5°C
  • limit, though under the influence of a strong El Nino, an intermittent event involving a period of warming.
  • Global temperatures still remained well above average in the second half of 2016, associated partly with exceptionally low sea-ice cover in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
  • C3S found that most regions around the world experienced above-average temperatures during 2016.
  • The largest differences in regional average temperatures were found in the Arctic but conditions were also extreme over southern Africa early in the year, over southern and south-eastern Asia prior to the summer monsoon, over the Middle East later in summer, and over parts of North America in summer and autumn.
  • In addition to record temperatures, ECMWF’s Copernicus Services monitored other extremes occurring in 2016, including significant global wildfires and the growth of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Destructive fires were observed around Fort McMurray, Canada in May and then extensive wildfires across Siberia, associated with the year’s high surface temperatures, during June and July.

Source:Times of India

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