2017 was second or third warmest year

2017 was second or third warmest year

"Individual ranking of years is not necessarily the most important thing", Gavin A Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis, told the New York Times.

In a separate analysis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found 2017 was the third-warmest year on record.

Federal government researchers said Thursday that 2017 was the second hottest year on record in terms of global average surface temperatures.

During an El Nino year - when a warming of the central Pacific changes weather worldwide - the globe's annual temperature can spike, naturally, by a tenth or two of a degree, scientists said. During 2016, average temperatures were the highest reported since record keeping began in 1880, reaching 1.69 degrees F (0.94 degrees C) above the average for land and sea surfaces in the 20th century.

The NASA report showed that past year was the third in a row in which temperatures hit new highs, following a decades-long trend of sweltering seasons.

Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 average, NASA's report says. But both agencies agreed that the five warmest years have all been since 2010 and if not for the lack of an El Nino weather pattern of 2017, it would have been the hottest year ever recorded.

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The result come in a big year for global climate diplomacy as countries seek to hew to the Paris climate goals of holding warming below 2 or perhaps 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Prior to this report, 2015 was ranked as the second hottest year and 2014 as the third hottest. "What we're seeing is an increasing string of years of temperatures more than 1 degree above the pre-industrial era".

"Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have all been during this century, and the degree of warming during the past three years has been exceptional", Mr. Taalas pointed out, stressing: "Arctic warmth has been especially pronounced and this will have profound and long-lasting repercussions on sea levels, and on weather patterns in other parts of the world".

The observed warming has been predicted within a few tenths of a degree in computer simulations going back to the 1970s and 1980s, several scientists said.

The small difference in rankings between NASA and NOAA is due to differences in how temperatures are analyzed by both agencies.

The warming trend continued as President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord and repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era measure created to reduce emissions from power generation.