Last year was the hottest year in recorded history, scientists said Wednesday.
Earth’s surface temperatures in 2015 were the warmest since record keeping began in 1880, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.
Scientists said that the planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.0 degree Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change they largely attribute to the increased presence of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions in the atmosphere.
Here’s what that looks like in 30 seconds:
Data on global temperatures comes from thousands of weather stations around the world. Most of the planet’s warming occurred in the last 35 years, according to NOAA and NASA. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record occurred since 2001.
Last year’s global temperatures broke the record set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius)—only the second time in modern history—the first being in 1998—that a new record was this much greater than the previous one. In December of last year, the average surface temperatures of land and oceans around the globe was the highest on record for any month in 136 years of record keeping, according to NOAA.
The year 2015 was pushed into record-breaking territory thanks in part to one of the strongest El Niños on record, which lifted plenty of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere, contributing to overall higher global temperatures, and brought rains to usually wet regions and droughts to usually dry regions.
Last year was a historic one for climate change. In November, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time, higher than it’s been in at least 1 million years. And in December, 195 nations approved a landmark climate deal that for the first time committed nearly every country to lowering greenhouse-gas emissions.
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