2017 was the second hottest year on record with regard to global average temperatures — after only 2016 — according to a new report from the Europe-based Copernicus Climate Change Service.
The high level of heat was accompanied by abnormally high levels of wildfires, very abnormally low sea ice extent and thickness, and high levels of drought in various parts of the world.
To be more specific, the new report states that 2017 saw a global temperature average of 14.7° Celsius (58.46° Fahrenheit) at the Earth’s surface — which is roughly 1.2° Celsius (2.2° Fahrenheit) above that of pre-industrial times.
“It’s striking that 16 of the 17 warmest years have all been this century,” stated Jean-Noel Thepaut, the head of Copernicus, in an interview with Reuters.
Reuters provides more: “The Copernicus study is in line with a projection by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in November that 2017 would be second or third warmest behind 2016. … In 2016, an extra dose of heat came from El Nino, a natural event that releases heat from the Pacific Ocean every few years. But last year was the hottest year without an El Nino, according to Copernicus, run by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.”
I suppose this story is likely to get buried, though, by all of the media spectacle concerning the winter storm hitting the northeastern US — with people apparently forgetting that the summer exists when the winter is ongoing.
Fifty years on from now, I wonder if people will still be claiming that climate warming isn’t occurring because the temperatures during the winter are 50° Fahrenheit on average in NYC rather than 100° Fahrenheit like during the summer? Perhaps the US won’t exist as a country by that point, though?
The World Meteorological Organization will be releasing its own report on 2017 in a few weeks, which may provide more context on the matter.