According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States is currently experiencing the second hottest year to date. On Friday, the NOAA released this chart detailing a warmer first third of the year, January to April, compared to the average temperature of the 20th century.
The United States was 4.0 degrees above the 20th-century average and Alaska is experiencing its warmest year on record, including an increase of 10 degrees above the average for April. After 2015 was the hottest year for the planet in historical record, data suggests that this trend is likely to continue and there is speculation that 2016 will be even warmer.
Scientists have stated that this year’s El Niño weather pattern has had a slight impact on increasing the world’s temperatures. However, the main catalyst for this warming trend seems to be the mass release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. New data suggests that the melting of arctic ice appears to have caused rising sea levels that completely submerged five of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific over the past seven decades.
Words and charts may not be compelling enough to strike fear in people, but a new GIF may illustrate the scary reality of global warming for people to take notice. Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at University of Reading, created a GIF that shows how global temperatures have escalated between 1850 to 2016.
You’ll notice that there is a line marking 1.5°C or 2.7°F. At the Paris climate conference last year, the nations of the world pledged to attempt to hold global average temperatures below 1.5°C. The GIF and history suggest that the temperature will continue to rise and surpass that mark and into the unknown 2°C territory. A temperature that scientists believe the Earth hasn’t seen in the past 13,000 years.