Global Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record This Year
The world is on pace to set another high temperature benchmark, with 2016 becoming the third year in a row of record heat.
NASA scientists announced Tuesday that global temperatures so far this year were much higher than in the first half of 2015.
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that while the first six months of 2015 made it the hottest half-year ever recorded, “2016 really has blown that out of the water.” He said calculations showed there was a 99 percent probability that the full year would be hotter than 2015.
NASA戈达德太空研究所(Goddard Institute for Space Studies)所长加文·施密特(Gavin Schmidt)表示，尽管去年上半年是有记录以来最热的半年，但“2016真的把它打得落花流水”。他说，计算显示，今年全年有99%的可能比2015年更热。
Schmidt said the world was now “dancing” with the temperature targets set last year in the Paris climate treaty for nations to limit climate change.
He attributed part of the rise in temperatures this year to El Niño, in which warming waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean pump a lot of heat into the atmosphere. El Niño is now ending and water temperatures in the Pacific are dropping, which should lead in 2017 to lower but still historically high temperatures.
Average temperatures for the first six months of this year were about 1.3 degrees Celsius, or 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit, above the average in 1880, when global record-keeping began, and “quite close” to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, Schmidt said in a conference call with other NASA scientists.
The warming in the first half of this year extended across all parts of the planet except for most of Antarctica, Schmidt said. Warming was especially strong in the Arctic, where it had an impact on sea ice coverage.
Walt Meier, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said that the geographical extent of the Arctic ice so far this year was the lowest for any half-year since satellite record-keeping began in 1979, largely because warm temperatures caused melting to begin as much as two months earlier than usual.
NASA戈达德太空飞行中心(Goddard Space Flight Center)科学家沃尔特·迈耶(Walt Meier)表示，自1979年开始用卫星记录相关数据以来，今年截至目前是北极冰层覆盖范围最小的半年，主要是因为天气温暖导致冰层比平常提前两个月开始融化。
Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius has special significance because at the Paris climate treaty in December the world agreed to aim to limit the increase in average global temperatures to that amount above preindustrial levels.
Schmidt said that although El Niño contributed to some of the increase in temperatures from last year, almost all of the increase since the 1960s was because of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.