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It's Official: 2016 ... Planet's Hottest Year on Record
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.
For a deeper dive:
Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.