For eight consecutive months, January to August, the globe experienced record warm heat. 2016 was also the 20th year in a row that the average annual temperature exceeded the average temperature.
Mr. Schmidt said he is reluctant to predict 2017 will be a record-breaking year because it isn't starting off with a strong El Nino weather pattern like the one that carried into 2016 after starting in the Pacific in the fall of 2015.
On the flip side, the earth's annual global temperature has not been below the 20th century average since 1976.
"The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere", read the statement. "Whether people suddenly want to say after a record that, "Oh, now we've cooled, because there was a record last year" - I think people are savvy enough to see how transparent that is".
News of record temperatures cropped up even at the very end of the year, when a major storm near Iceland produced 45-foot waves and pushed mild air into the Arctic region, causing temperatures to reach 32 degrees, according to ABC News meteorologists.
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Past year averaged 0.99 C above the 1951-1980 average for land/ocean surface combined, according to NASA. "The hottest year on record is such a clear warning siren that even President-elect Trump can not ignore". When averaging daily data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and noting that there was an unanticipated sensor transition during the year, the estimated average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was approximately 3.92 million square miles, the smallest annual average in the record.
Scientists believe that the temperature record announced Wednesday and other recent ones are nearly certainly caused mainly by human-driven climate change, due to greenhouse gas emissions. That 15-month streak is the longest in recorded history.
Because weather station locations and measurement practices change over time, there are uncertainties in the interpretation of specific year-to-year global mean temperature differences.
The African continent observed its second warmest year, behind only 2015, while Oceania had its fifth warmest year on record, behind 2013, 2005.
The results illustrate "the importance of continuing negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions", said Dr Conor Sweeney of the UCD Meteorology and Climate Centre. The full dataset for the year shows that 2016 was 0.77C above the long-term 1961-90.