Warmest year on record

2016 – the hottest year ever recorded

It has been confirmed that 2016 was the hottest year since 1880, when humans started measuring global average temperatures. According to NASA (the National Air and Space Administration) and NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), 2016 overtook the previous titleholder, 2015, by 0.04 degrees Celsius, becoming the third year in a row to reach record temperatures.

The pattern which can be observed from these measurements shows a steady increase in annual average surface temperatures, thus providing evidence for the global warming thesis. Besides the large quantities of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, which trap heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere, an unusually powerful El Niño contributed to the high temperatures. According to NOAA, El Niño is “the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.” Among the effects of this climatic event, which was first observed in the seventeenth century and takes place once in every two to seven years, are warmer-than-average temperatures on the northern and western American continent.

Image: ©Dan Riedlhuber/Reuters

2016 was also the year with the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, namely July. The NOAA report also shows that the average temperatures recorded during 2016 were 0.94 degrees Celsius above the average of the twentieth century.

This data was published just days before Donald Trump was sworn in as Barack Obama’s successor at the White House. In this context, president Trump is famous for his views on global warming, having once tweeted that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. Furthermore, it was recently noticed that every mention of climate change which could previously be found on the website of the White House has been deleted by the Trump administration, a fact which generates more questions regarding US’ future approach to this issue.

English-German glossary

to record, to measure = (hier) messen

global average temperatures = globale Durchschnittstemperatur

to overtake = überholen

titleholder = der Titelhalter

in a row = nacheinander

measurements = Messungen

steady = stetig

to provide = bereitstellen

evidence = Beweis

global warming = Erderwärmung, globale Erwärmung

besides = neben

greenhouse gases = Treibhausgase

to emit = ausstoßen

to trap = einfangen

heat = Hitze

to contribute to sth = zu etw beitragen

large-scale = großmaßstäbig

periodic = regelmäßig wiederkehrend

namely = und zwar

data = Angaben

successor = Nachfolger

manufacturing = Herstellung

non – competitive = wettbewerbsunfähig

to notice = bemerken

to delete = löschen