Still, a comparison of today's average temperatures to those in years past shows an upward trend overall, The Washington Post noted, with the trend rising faster after 1980.
"Within just a decade or two, we can expect these record hot temperatures to become average or even cool years because of further greenhouse warming".
Right now, the world is about as warm as half the models predicted, but, remember, global surface temperatures were driven up a strong El Nino. In 2016, global average temperatures were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the mid-20th century mean, and Huntsville's average temperatures were 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above 1981-2010 normals.
Spurred by climate change and heat from a monster El Niño, the global average surface temperature a year ago was 0.94 degrees Celsius (1.69 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century average of 13.9° C (57° F).
What's particularly alarming is that most of the warming has happened in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years occurring since 2001.
NOAA said 2016's warmth took off with a boost from El Niño, with the planet setting monthly heat records from January to August.
Scientists have officially declared 2016 as the hottest year since records began.
NOAA calculated that last year was the warmest year on record in the oceans, the Arctic and North America.
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Although variables like weather station placement can affect temperature readings, NASA said its designation of 2016 as the warmest in recorded history could be made with 95 percent certainty.
"But we've also seen long term trends in warming mostly due to the increasing greenhouse gases".
The El Niño phenomenon played a role but scientists suggest the main factor was human emissions of CO2.
"This was the third year in a row in our analysis to set a new record".
"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". NASA has ships, sea buoys, balloons, satellites, and research facilities all over the globe to maintain a precise measurement of both sea and land temperatures.
NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different baseline period, and different methods to analyze Earth's polar regions and global temperatures. With Donald Trump, an outspoken skeptic of climate change, about to take office as U.S. president, some see little leadership on climate change for the next four years.
For eight consecutive months past year - January to August - the globe experienced record warm heat.