2015 was the hottest year on record – and it will get hotter still

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It’s official: last year was the warmest year on Earth since records began in 1880, according to a new report by NASA.

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the globally-averaged surface temperature of our planet shattered the previous record – which was only set in 2014 – by 0.13 Celsius.

The 2015 temperatures continue a long-term upward trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.0 degree Celsius since the late 1800s, as mechanical activity continued to grow after the Industrial Revolution. The change in temperature does therefore seem linked – on a long-term basis –  to increased human activity, with higher levels of carbon dioxide and other manmade emissions in the atmosphere.

15 of the 16 warmest years on record have occurred just since 2001. Last year was the first time the global average temperatures were 1 degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average. And only once before, in 1998, has the new record for the year been 0.13 Celsius greater than the previous record (the amount between 2014 and 2015).

 To see the global surface temperature anomalies from 1880 through 2015, watch this video. Higher than normal temperatures are shown in red and lower than normal termperatures are shown in blue. The final frame represents the global temperatures in Celsius in 5-year averages from 2010 through 2015.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

NASA’s analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, observations of sea surface temperatures, and measurements from Antarctic research stations. These raw measurements are analysed using an algorithm that considers the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heating effects that could skew the conclusions.


Not every region on Earth experienced record average temperatures last year. For example, NASA and NOAA found that the 2015 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the second warmest on record. We’re still waiting for official news on Malaysia’s data and will let you know as soon as possible.

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