2015 Shattered Records by Being the Warmest Year Ever Recorded

First Posted: Jan 20, 2016 12:05 PM EST

The year 2015 may have been the hottest on record. After a year of extremes, including a strangely warm December, the NOAA has ranged 2015 as the warmest to date.

"2015 was by far the record year in all of the temperature datasets that are based on the instrumental and surface data," said Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, in an interview with The Washington Post. "It really underlines the fact that the planet really is still warming, there is no change in the long term global warming rate, and we know why that is."

In fact, U.S. data suggests that 2015 broke the temperature record by the widest margin ever recorded. However, this wasn't much of a surprise. The Met Office predicted that 2015 would be between .52 and .76 above the long-term average. The actual temperature came in near the top end of that forecast.

"Looking ahead, 2016 looks like it's also going to be another warm year and that's associated with the fact that human influence on the climate through greenhouse gas emissions has pushed us into new territory," said Peter Stott from the British meteorological organization's Hadley research center, in an interview with BBC News.

Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred this century. With the latest recordings, it's more important than ever to take steps to help curtail warming in the future. Even a small increase in temperature has major implications for our planet, from melting ice at the poles to increased chances for extreme droughts and floods like those seen across the U.S. last year.

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