The year of 2016 has been deemed the hottest year in all of Earth’s recorded history. The two organizations primarily responsible for measuring climate and temperature, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminsitration (NOAA), reported together that 1) temperatures in 2016 were higher than ever before, specifically in the early months of the year, and 2) global sea ice levels reached record lows.

 

Photo credit: The New York Times

Despite its record status, 2016 is apparently not an outlier. It was the third consecutive year that the temperature record was broken. On top of that, 16 of the 17 hottest years recorded have taken place after 2000. Dr. Michael Mann from Penn State was quoted as saying that up to 75% of the heat can be attributed to human activity.

It will be interesting to see how this sharp uptick in temperature and relevant climate data affects policies around the world and abroad. President Trump moved to issue a media blackout on the EPA today and signed an executive order freezing the agency’s grants. Both his energy secretary nominee (Rick Perry, former Texas governor) and EPA nominee (Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General) have been vocal skeptics of climate change.

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