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The planet hits another record: 2015 was the hottest year

2015 was the hottest year on record. Many believe this shouldn’t make the headlines, but the record-breaking figure is cause for concern.

2015 was the hottest year in history, i.e. since tracking began in 1880. We are approaching 1°C in average global temperature rise, over half of the threshold set in the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21), 1.5 degrees. Above that limit, many island countries and coastal areas could be submerged and millions of people forced to flee. The news has been released by the American space agency NASA, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and Met Office.

 

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The chart shows all scientific institutes that analyse the global temperature trend

 

Temperature was 0.9 degrees higher than the reference global average: 13.9 degrees. It’s an increase that considers both terrestrial and oceanic temperature. It’s a figure that broke the record set just the previous year, 2014, when the temperature increase on an annual basis was 0.74 degrees (+0.16 degrees over a year).

 

With 2015, the negative trend is confirmed. Just consider that among the first 4 warmest years in history there are the past 3 years.

“2015 was remarkable even in the context of the ongoing El Niño,” Gavin Schmidt, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Last year’s temperatures had an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing.”

 

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NASA’s chart

 

The message is clear: the Paris Agreement needs to be implemented as soon as possible, as climate is not on our side. Time is running out, and if we don’t do something now, curbing global warming could turn out to be impossible.

 

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), German organisation that has always been a crucial actor in providing data and guidelines on how to face climate change, has no doubt: “News on record breaking temperatures like the global record of 2015 show that continuous climate change has become reality by now,” said Professor Wolfgang Lucht of PIK.  “We have to end the fossil era”.

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