Climate Matters

BAMS State of the Climate Report for 2016

Greetings Meteorologists,


The 2016 State of the Climate Report was released today from the American Meteorological Society. This is the 27th annual report, which was led by the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly NCDC). The report represents the work of nearly 500 scientists from more than 60 countries.


We’ve provided some resources for you to help expand on the report on the air and online and for you to share with your newsroom, as we know they often come to you with questions.


Full report (Bulletin of the AMS)
Summary of the report (NOAA/NCEI)
Visual highlights of the report (NOAA)


Some highlights of the report are below:


• The 2016 average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 54.9°F, which was 2.2°F above the 1981-2010 average, this is the second warmest since records began. Since 1970, the rate of warming has increased to 0.5°F per decade.


u.s. heat


• 2016 was the globally averaged hottest year on record, surpassing 2015. The record warmth resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and a strong El Niño early in the year. Then 10 hottest years on record have all come since 1998.


hottest year on record


• Arctic land temperature was 3.6°F above the 1981-2010 average and that region has warmed 6.3°F since 1900.


• Globally averaged sea surface temperatures were the highest on record in 2016. Global sea level was also the highest on record. The rate of warming and the rate of sea level rise in the global oceans are both accelerating.


oceans heating up


• The Arctic Ocean is warming dramatically. Parts of the Barents Sea (north of Scandinavia) were as much as 20°F above average in August 2016.


• 2016 was the 37th consecutive year of overall alpine glacier retreat loss across the globe, with an average loss of 2.8 feet. Below the surface (65 feet), record high temperatures were measured at all permafrost observing sites on the North Slope of Alaska.


• Globally averaged carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 402.9 parts per million, the highest concentration in the history of human civilization. Methane and nitrous oxide, also greenhouse gases, reached record levels.


global temp and co2


greenhouse gas longevity



If you have trouble accessing the embedded graphics to use on air or online, you can also download several versions of them from our Climate Matters archive or directly from the links below. Just use the drop down menu to access the package for your market:


Hottest year on record >>

U.S. heat >>

El Nino >>

Earth Day 2017 >>

Greenhouse Gas Bulletin >>


As always, please let Bernadette or me know if there are any questions, or if we can help you with a story.



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