The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a leading environmental agency which is part of the United States federal government, found that global temperatures were warmer last year than in 137 years of recordkeeping for a third consecutive year - surpassing the previosu record of 2015.
The report's climate indicators show patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system.
The findings contradict the talking points of the Trump administration, which has openly questioned the science behind climate change and the degree that humans contribute to it, and which has moved to reverse the clean-air initiatives of the Obama White House. The global annual average atmospheric Carbon dioxide concentration was 402.9 parts per million (ppm), which surpassed 400 ppm for the first time in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.
The annual State of the Climate report, published Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, confirmed that 2016 not only set a new mark for heat but broke records for sea-level rise and heat-trapping pollutants, along with the amount of ocean ice and snow cover that were lost.
Among the findings, the annual global surface temperature reached a record warmth for the third year in a row, ranging from 0.45° to 0.56° Celsius above the 1981-2010 average. Both land and sea surface temperatures set new highs. The authors found it "extremely likely" that most of the warming since 1951 was caused by humans, and that even if emissions were to cease, existing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would cause temperatures to increase at least a half-degree Fahrenheit over this century. It was 3.5 parts per million higher than the previous year, the biggest jump in the 58 years it has been recorded.
In the sensitive polar regions, sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic hit record lows.
This represents a 6.3F (3.5C) increase since records began in 1900.
Rising global temperatures are linked to more extreme weather events, such as heat waves, floods, and droughts.
In 2016, meteorologists recorded 93 named tropical storms worldwide - above the 1981 to 2010 average of 82, but fewer than the 101 storms in 2015. When anthropogenic warming is considered, the likelihood of three consecutive record-breaking years happening any time since 2000 rises to as high as 50 percent, according to the new study.
Preliminary data indicate that 2016 was the 37th consecutive year of overall alpine glacier retreat across the globe, with an average loss of 2.8 feet (852 mm) for the reporting glaciers.