Jan 18, 2017

2016: one of the warmest two years on record

Met Office

Provisional full-year figures for global average near-surface temperatures confirm that last year, 2016, was one of the warmest two years on record, nominally exceeding the record temperature of 2015.

When viewed alongside 2015, the two years are the warmest in an annual series of figures that starts in 1850.

Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit produce the HadCRUT4 dataset, which is used to estimate global temperature. The global temperature series shows that 2016 was 0.77±0.1 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average, nominally a record since at least 1850. When compared with the 1850 to 1900 baseline – which is indicative of pre-industrial temperatures – the 2016 average global temperature anomaly was around 1.1 °C (see below). For comparison, 2015 was 0.76±0.1 °C above the long-term (1961-1990) average.

Peter Stott is Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre. He said: “The final figures confirm that 2016 was yet another extremely warm year. In the HadCRUT4 dataset the temperature for last year was very close to the year before, temperatures for 2016 exceeding those for 2015 by a small margin. 2015 was remarkable for having stood out so clearly from previous years as the warmest year since 1850 and now 2016 turns out to have been just as warm.

“A particularly strong El Niño event contributed about 0.2C to the annual average for 2016, which was about 1.1C above the long term average from 1850 to 1900. However, the main contributor to warming over the last 150 years is human influence on climate from increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”


The table below provides the temperature increase (anomaly) for each year between 2000 and 2016, relative to the long-term average of the period 1961 to 1990.