2016 broke several climatic records, a sweeping report issued Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration INOAA) confirms.
More than 450 scientists from more than 60 countries contributed to NOAA’s State of the Climate report, which confirms that 2016 was the hottest year on record. The report also details several other record-breaking events in 2016: greenhouse gases hit their highest recorded concentration in nearly one million years; 12 percent of the earth endured severe drought; alpine glaciers retreated for the 37th year in a row by an average of about 3 feet (1 meter); and global sea levels hit a record high.
Other highlights of the report, as collated by The Associated Press, include:
- At any given time, nearly one-eighth of the world’s land mass was in severe drought. That’s far higher than normal and “one of the worst years for drought,” said report co-author Robert Dunn of the United Kingdom Met Office.
- Extreme weather was everywhere. Giant downpours were up. Heat waves struck all over the globe, including a nasty one in India. Extreme weather contributed to a gigantic wildfire in Canada.
- Global sea level rose another quarter of an inch (3.4 millimeters) for the sixth straight year of record high sea levels.
- There were 93 tropical cyclones across the globe, 13 percent more than normal. That included Hurricane Matthew that killed about 1,000 people in Haiti.
- Greenland’s ice sheet in 2016 lost 341 billion tons of ice (310 billion metric tons). It has lost 4400 billion tons (4000 billion metric tons of ice since 2002.
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Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column