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Early data shows 2015 blew away previous records to become Earth’s hottest year

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Global temperature anomaly for 2015 compared to the 1951-1980 average. Image: Berkeley Earth

Early data shows 2015 blew away previous records to become Earth’s hottest year

By Andrew Freedman January 13 2016 Mashable

During the next week, the official climate agencies around the world that are responsible for tracking the planet’s average temperatures will almost certainly come to the same conclusion: 2015 was the warmest year on record. This would mean that 2015 would beat the previous warmest year, which occurred in 2014 — remember that? The combination of a record strong El Niño event plus the highest amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at any time in human history have given the climate system the equivalent of a Power Bar plus a shot of espresso. On Wednesday, one unofficial temperature tracking group, known as Berkeley Earth, revealed its determination that 2015 was by far the planet’s warmest year, both on land and sea.
There’s one especially important about fact about this group’s determination: It was set up in early 2010 as an independent fact check of other surface temperature data sets, and led by a physicist — Richard Muller — who had previously been quite skeptical of mainstream climate science findings. Instead of proving surface data from government agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wrong, the Berkeley group has consistently reaffirmed their dataThe Berkeley Earth group said in a release on Wednesday that “2015 was unambiguously the hottest year on record.”
More importantly, the group found that for the first time in recorded history, the Earth’s temperature is clearly more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1850-1900 average, and halfway to world leaders’ climate target of limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.

“At the recent rate of warming may begin to cross that threshold in about 50 years,” The Berkeley Earth group said in a release on Wednesday that “2015 was unambiguously the hottest year on record.” More importantly, the group found that for the first time in recorded history, the Earth’s temperature is clearly more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 1850-1900 average, and halfway to world leaders’ climate target of limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. “At the recent rate of warming may begin to cross that threshold in about 50 years,” Robert Rohde, a scientist with the Berkeley Earth team, said in the release. …The team found that both land and ocean temperatures separately set record highs. Berkeley Earth’s analysis over land is based on temperature observations from more than 40,000 weather stations, including 20,755 stations reporting in 2015. This is combined with ocean surface temperature data from the Hadley Center in the UK

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