Among Warmest Years On Record

A color-coded map of the globe showing areas of percentiles of cool and warmth- ranging from record warm to record cool- for the calendar year 2017

The planet went through one of its warmest years on record in 2017, according to analyses from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday.

That means the planet's long-term warming trend is continuing, with average global temperatures in 2017 climbing 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius).

According to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, 2017 attained a temperature of 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius), higher than the mediocre temperature witnessed in the 1900s.

During an El Nino year - when a warming of the central Pacific changes weather worldwide - the globe's annual temperature can spike, naturally, by a tenth or two of a degree, scientists said.

2016 was the planet's warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, and climate scientists attributed that in part to a strong El Nino Southern Oscillation climate pattern.

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This is a developing story.

Map shows Earth's average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980, according to an analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The two agencies use slightly different methods to analyze global temperatures, which accounts for the variation in rankings, NOAA representatives said in a statement.

Earth past year wasn't quite as hot as 2016's record-shattering mark, but it ranked second or third, depending on who was counting.

"The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one", Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

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"We need increased levels of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions combined with concrete actions to reduce disaster risk especially in least developed countries which contribute little to climate change", he underscored. Specifically, the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010, NOAA and NASA agree.

In addition to the official US agencies, a number of additional expert outlets have tracked temperatures and found results consistent with those of NOAA and NASA.

"The Arctic has warmed 2 and a half degrees C since the middle of the century", he said. "So much of the difference in 2017 between the groups that find it in second place and third place has to do with how the Arctic is handled".

NOAA and NASA analyses use temperature measurements from weather stations on land and at sea. Mooney reports on science and the environment.

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