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2017 on Track to Be Third Hottest Year Nationally

By Climate Central

Through the end of September, 2017 is the third hottest year on record in the U.S. These figures are even more impressive in the absence of an El Niño, which gives a small boost in average global temperatures. This is further evidence that the observed long-term warming of the globe is from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The U.S. will likely finish 2017 as the third hottest year since scientists began recording temperatures in the 1890s. If that holds true, then five of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. will have come since 2006. Only two of those 10 hottest years came before 1998, so those five hottest years are each hotter than the hottest of the Dustbowl years, 1934.

Through the end of September, the U.S. is having its warmest consecutive 24, 36, and 48 months on record. This consistent warmth over the past four years has been practically independent of the warming waters of an El Niño. In fact, La Niña years are now warmer than El Niño years from 30 years ago.

Speaking of oceans, they play a critical role in the earth’s longer term temperature, as 93 percent of the energy from human-caused warming is going into the oceans. This means that in addition to more warm days the planet is experiencing a more intense water cycle, which is behind the observed global increase in heavy precipitation.

METHODOLOGY: The top 10 years in the U.S. are NOAA calculations using anomalies based on the 20th-century average; 2017 is based on the year-to-date anomaly through September.