Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Earth Sets a Temperature Record for 3rd Straight Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Earth Sets a Temperature Record for 3rd Straight Year

Article excerpt

For the third consecutive year, Earth's climate was the warmest on record in 2016, according to new data released by two federal agencies.

It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row, but most people in this part of the world didn't get a sense of that by what they experienced in their backyards

In their latest report that looks at annual temperatures across the globe, NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predictably found much of 2016's warmth was again in Alaska, western Canada, Siberia, Greenland, and other parts of the Arctic - a trend that has been evolving over several decades.

Those areas lack population, political strength, and - with few exceptions - are visited less frequently by people who live on other parts of the planet.

The two agencies chose not to address those dynamics in their presentation, telling reporters their mission is simply to get scientific information out to the public.

The Arctic also experienced its worst year on record for loss of sea ice in 2016, and the outlook for 2017 doesn't look good, either.

Pittsburgh experienced its second-warmest year on record.

According to a NOAA study released earlier this month, Cleveland had its warmest year on record in 2016, with its average temperature of 54.3 degrees for that year being 2.9 degrees warmer than NOAA's 1981-2010 benchmark of 51.4 degrees.

Yet only a two-hour drive to the west, Toledo had its sixth warmest year on record, with its average 2016 temperature of 52.1 degrees being 1.8 degrees warmer than its 1981-2010 benchmark of 50.3 degrees.

Cleveland was one of 34 U.S. cities that set a new annual record for warmth in 2016.

But it was the only one in the Great Lakes region. Most were in the South, with one exception being a part of New York City. Three cities in North Dakota and four in Alaska also had record years for warmth in 2016.

Besides the Steel City, 47 other cities also experienced their second-warmest years on record, while Fort Wayne, Ind.; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Akron, Ohio; Chicago; Detroit; and Grand Rapids, Mich. were among many that had their third warmest years on record.

"The trends we are seeing are continuing," according to Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, who also predicted 2017 will almost certainly wind up in the Top Five - possibly No. 2 since record-keeping began in 1880.

"It was really global warmth we saw in 2016, even more than 2015," agreed Deke Arndt, chief of global monitoring for NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, in Asheville, N.C.

Mr. Schmidt said he is reluctant to predict 2017 will be a record-breaking year because it isn't starting off with a strong El Nino weather pattern like the one that carried into 2016 after starting in the Pacific in the fall of 2015. …

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