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Global climate highlights for 2016 are sobering

September 06, 2017; 12:30 PM

A few weeks ago while I was away on vacation, NOAA released their annual State of the Climate report.

Here is a breakdown of some of the highlights from 2016.........

--2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year on record. Records go back to 1880. Clearly, long-term warming and even a strong El Nino played a role in this impressive record.

--Global sea surface temperatures were the warmest on record as a whole for 2016, beating out the previous record set in 2015.

Global sea surface temperature anomalies compared to the 1981-2010 average.

Global sea surface temperature anomalies since 1900. Multiple databases.

--Upper ocean heat content was near a record high.

--No surprise, global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached another record high in the official database, surpassing 402 ppm.

--Sea level over most of the oceans of the world experienced higher-than-average sea level compared to the 1993-2016 average. This is likely due to a combination of long-term sea level rise, regional storminess and natural climate variability.

Global sea level since the 1990s.

--Overall, average global sea level reached a record high for 2016 as meltwater from glaciers and ice sheets combined with the thermal expansion of ocean water due to warming.

--Speaking of glaciers, mountain based glaciers continue to see a steady decline in ice mass.

Glacier mass balance, the difference between ice lost through melting and ice gained through new snowfall.

--Finally, the number of extreme hot days continues to trend upward globally.

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Images courtesy of NOAA.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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