By continent, North America saw its warmest year on record, with the second-warmest year on record for Africa and South America, and the third-warmest year on record for Europe and Asia.
NOAA and NASA announced today that 2016 was Earth's warmest year since reliable instrument records began in 1880.
Arndt says that 2016 ended up 1.69 ˚F warmer than the 20th century average.
During the final month, the December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature departure from average was the third highest on record for any month in the 137-year record.
NASA and NOAA produce slightly different records using somewhat different methodologies, but have now concurred on identifying 2014, 2015 and 2016 as, successively, the three warmest years in their records.
Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001.
This graphic makes clear that 2016 exceeded past years by a considerable amount, owing to NASA's inclusion of Arctic temperature data.
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"2016 was the year climate change took hold of the world more clearly than ever, with serious humanitarian and environmental consequences".
Last year was Earth's warmest on record, according to data compiled by the United Nations, confirming USA findings that heat records were broken for a third year in 2016.
The Arctic "was enormously warm, like totally off the charts compared to everything else", said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in NY. But the announcement cemented for many researchers the worrying reality that global temperatures are continuing their inexorable upward climb. The agency said previous year was.12 degrees warmer than 2015.
Here is NASA's record of the annual average global temperature since 1880..
To be perfectly honest, some of the warming was caused by phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña, which warm or cool the upper tropical Pacific Ocean and can alter global weather patterns - but they merely exacerbate the heating we are causing ourselves.
Most of the warming is due to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that trap heat in the atmosphere.
"We have also broken sea ice minimum records in the Arctic and Antarctic", Taalas said.