Politics

2015 Was The Hottest Year On Record, Climate Scientists Confirm

| by Robert Fowler
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If 2015 felt hot to you, it wasn’t just your imagination. Meteorologists have confirmed that 2015 was the hottest year on record, rising temperatures spurred by a combination of carbon emissions and a particularly strong El Nino.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released reports that confirm that 2015 “shattered” global temperature records.

The previous record-holder? 2014.

The reports, released on Jan. 20, were conducted independently, with NASA and NOAA culling data from thousands of temperature-measuring installations across the globe, The New York Times reports.

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Records for yearly temperatures date back to 1880.

"The reason that 2015 has not just broken the record but has blown past it is because we are seeing a long-term temperature trend interact with the strongest El Niño of our generation," Texas Tech University Professor Katharine Hayhoe told BBC.

“What we have this year is the long-term rate of change with an extra spike of El Nino on top,” Hayhoe added.

Climate scientists are pointing to this new spike in temperature as further proof that rising global temperatures have been spurred by human industrialization of the environment.

Climate skeptics frequently reference that global temperatures have seemed to level off since 1998, a year when there was also a strong El Nino. Scientists, however, say that that is too narrow of a window to view the data.

“The reason why this is such a warm record year is because of the long-term warming trend, and there is no evidence that that warming trend has slowed, paused, or hiatused at any point in the last few decades," Goddard Institute for Space Studies’ Dr. Gavin Schmidt said.

Paris hosted a global climate summit that gathered world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, at the end of 2015 to find common solutions to curbing carbon emissions.

However, the issue has not been a priority among GOP presidential candidates. Climate change has not been discussed at any of the Republican debates so far.

In response, a group of 8th graders have created a viral campaign asking Republican candidates to please include science in their upcoming debates, The Guardian reports.

“If they talk about the big science issues, maybe they’ll actually do something about them,” 8th-grader Susanlyn Singroy said, according to The Guardian.

It's predicted that 2016 will be equally as warm -- if not warmer -- than 2015, BBC notes.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times / Photo Credit: skyseeker/Flickr, David Fulmer/Flickr