2017 Third-Hottest Year on Record

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Last year was the third-hottest one on record and more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the average for all of the 20th century. Only 2015 and 2016 were hotter.

What was most unusual — and troubling to climate experts — was that 2017 was the hottest year ever absent an El Niño weather pattern.

The data were reported Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The agency’s data are in line with data reported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization.

NOAA also noted significant climate anomalies and events last year. Here’s a partial list:

  • The 2017 average temperature for the Lower 48 states was the third highest since 1895, behind 2012 and 2016.
  • During the Arctic ice growth season, the ice pack posted its smallest ever annual extent. During the melt season, Arctic ice reached its eighth-smallest minimum extent on record.
  • Europe as a whole had its fifth warmest year on record.
  • Temperatures in Asia were much warmer than average, with 2017 the third-warmest year since record-keeping began in 1910.
  • Africa recorded its fourth-warmest year on record, behind 2010, 2016 and 2015.
  • The 2017 globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.21° F above the 20th-century average, the third highest on record behind 2016 and 2015.

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Bloomberg News that 2018 will “almost certainly [be] a top-five year, and quite possibly a top-two year” for heat.

More details and the complete NOAA report are available at the agency’s website.