2016 ranked second warmest year in the United States history. The average temperature last year reached 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is almost three degrees more than the long-term average. But what is more worrisome is that 2016 was recorded as the warmest year in the world.

In 2016, many climate records were broken. According to a report submitted by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Monday, 2016 was the second warmest year in the contiguous US and Alaska, just after 2012 temperatures. Along with high temperatures, there were several catastrophic natural disasters including extreme rainfall and hurricanes.

2016 ranked second warmest year in the United States history. Photo credit:  iStockphoto / Marcio Silva / The Daily Signal
2016 ranked second warmest year in the United States history. Photo credit: iStockphoto / Marcio Silva / The Daily Signal

“The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation’s climate history,” NOAA remarked in its report. “No other year had as many states breaking or close to breaking their warmest annual average temperature. The warmest year on record, 2012, had more record warm states (26), but unlike 2016, states in the Northwest fell outside of their warmest decile of historical distribution.”

2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-usual year

The contiguous 48 states recorded an annual temperature of 54.9 degrees Fahrenheit last year, which is 2.9 degrees more than the 20th-century average, and just 0.4 degrees less than 2012 when the average annual temperature was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit. 2016 becomes the second warmest year ever recorded in the U.S since 1895.

According to the NOAA, 2016 was the 20th consecutive year in which the annual temperatures of the 48 contiguous states were above the average of the 20th century. To be more specific every state including Alaska recorded warmer temperatures in 2016, with the exceptions of Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Maine. However, for these states, 2016 is among their top five warmest years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the average warming rate, every decade is of 0.15 degrees. The NOAA said that thirty-four cities registered its warmest year in 2016, including New Orleans, New York (La Guardia), Atlanta, Houston, El Paso, and Barrow. For Alaska, 2016 was the warmest year for the third time in a row, with almost 6 degrees Fahrenheit about the average. Alaska’s warming rate is 0.3 degrees per decade.

Predictions for 2017 temperatures

In 2016, the country also experienced several natural calamities including severe rainfalls in northern Louisiana in March and eastern North Carolina in October. As well, Americans were affected by Hurricane Matthew and catastrophic floodings during the summer. All of these events provoked 138 deaths and cost more than $46 billion.

NOOA said that rising temperatures are concerning and they are a long-term trend rather than something caused by a particular phenomenon such as El Niño. Sadly, they foretell that 2017 is going to be the warmest year in 130 years. Apparently, every year that goes by is believed to become the warmest on record due to global warming.

President Barack Obama tried to leave an environmental legacy. He protected public lands, blocked drilling from the Arctic and urged for clean energy investment. However, the future of environmental projects may be compromised once Trump assumes the presidency since he has referred to climate change as a hoax created by China to make US manufacturing non-competitive.

Source: Tech Times