By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
Last year was the hottest on record for the planet, the third straight year of higher temperatures. It also was one of the warmest in southern New England history.
In all, the 12 states in the Northeast experienced their third warmest year with an average temperature of 49.3 degrees. The global air temperature was 58.69 degrees, or 1.69 degrees above the 20th-century average, according the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The fastest rate of global warming is occurring in the Arctic, where the temperature is climbing two to three times the global average. The Arctic is nearly 3 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in the pre-industrial era.
Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist for National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), said the data shows that there has been no slowdown in global warming, nor can the long-term upward trend be attributed to warm weather patterns such as an El Niño.
“The main take-home response here is that the trends we have been seeing since the 1970s are continuing and have not paused in any way,” Schmidt said during a Jan. 18 media conference call.
Also from NOAA:
The 2016 global average sea surface temperature was the highest on record, 1.35 degrees Fahrenheit above average.
The average size of Arctic sea ice for the year was 3.92 million square miles, the smallest annual average since record-keeping began in 1979.
The average size of Antarctic sea ice for the year was 4.31 million square miles, the second-smallest annual average since 1979.
The United States had its second-warmest year since records were first kept in 1895.
Rhode Island had its second-warmest year in 2016, climbing 2.2 degrees above the norm to 52.2 degrees. Its warmest year was in 2012, when the average temp was 52.9 degrees.
Massachusetts had its fourth-warmest year with an average temperature of 50.3 degrees. Its warmest year was in 2012, at 51.4 degrees.
Connecticut had its second-warmest year with an average temperature of 51.7 degrees. Its warmest year was 2012, at 52.5 degrees.
Maine had its sixth-warmest year with an average temperature of 43. 2 degrees.
New Hampshire had its fifth-warmest year with an average temperature of 45.7 degrees.
Vermont had its fifth-warmest year with an average temperature of 44.7 degrees.
New York had its third-warmest year with an average temperature of 47.6 degrees.