Warming of globe in 2015 shattered all previous records

By Tom Yulsman | January 20, 2016 10:25 am



This past year was by far the warmest in records that stretch back more than a century, two U.S. federal agencies announced this morning.

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, began the briefing by saying, “2015 was by far the warmest year in the records we have put together.”

“We’re really looking at a long-term trend,” he said. “This is just a symptom of that long-term trend.” The cause: “increasing burning of fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide that come with that.”

While El Niño contributed to the warmth seen this past year, “the trend over time is why we’re having a record warm year,” he said.


NASA and NOAA reached their conclusions based on independent analyses. Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina, said his agency’s analysis concurred with NASA’s.

“In our data set we were by far warmer than any other year, breaking the temperature record set previously in 2014 by a quarter degree Fahrenheit,” he said.

He noted that there was “quite a large separation from the previous record, set just last year.” This was a “rather remarkable part of the story this year.”

I am getting ready to leave for the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway, so I’ll have to leave it there. But for more detailed information, go here. And I’ll have more to say soon about the warming we saw in 2015 — from a part of the world that has actually warmed twice as fast as any other.

  • OWilson

    Teleconferencing is one good way to cut down on fossil fuels.

    But jet planes and fancy hotels are the preferred modes of choice for today’s “concerned” environmentalists.

    But, thanks for thinking about us anyway :)

    Speaking of technology, why do they never talk about the satellite record?

    (And in other Government Agency news the IRS is still wiping hard drives in direct contravention to Court Issued Orders – “The IRS erased a hard drive belonging to a former top employee involved in the agency’s controversial, taxpayer-funded hiring of elite trial law firm Quinn Emanuel.) – see FOI Filings IRS

    • Mike Richardson

      It’s pretty funny you’ve called me passive-aggressive in the past, considering that swipe at the host there. I usually just come out and call someone a hypocrite if it’s warranted. Which it isn’t, when the conference is being held somewhere that’s being affected by rapid warming, and actually being able to see and record it first hand would be useful. But you are right about teleconferencing and telecommuting, which many of us (myself included) do to save money on gas, spend more time with our families, and yes, cut down on our carbon footprint. Hopefully it’s a trend that will continue, further reducing our need for wasteful fossil fuels and allowing a transition to cleaner energy. So good on you for encouraging that!

      • OWilson

        I merely point out the human condition :)

        Some folks think they know what’s best for others, but always have an excuse for their own actions.

        The Pope needs a palatial palace.

        Anti gun politicians needs armed guards.

        The Global Warming lobbyists rack up frequent flyer miles.

        They quote a “scientific consensus”, but deny the satellite record.

        They tell us “The Science is Settled”, but are spending millions every day on new studies, that show the science is definitely NOT settled.

        Religion of Peace quotes the Q’uran call to arms agains the infidel.

        “Governments” spend trillions they never earned, and when that runs out, will automatically borrow more in the name of the generations yet unborn.

        Your passive/agressivenes allows you to uptick multiple posts from an indiviual calling me a “known liar”, and yet you can be quite “reasonable” here in public.

        Quite a world we live in :)

        • Mike Richardson

          Indeed, where one can comment on all the supposed foibles of everyone else, placing himself (like his avatar) upon a pedestal, when he’s indulged in quite a few exaggerations himself. As for your being a known liar, I like to give you the benefit of a doubt, but others (as well as yourself) have provided some pretty good food for thought on the topic, and should be acknowledged for the effort. Try not to fall off that pedestal, now, Wilson. 😉

          • OWilson

            Enough of the snide references to “others”.

            My record of posting here is open and extensive.

            Should be easy to find an example or two from a “known liar”.

            A direct quote, that is :)

  • jonathanpulliam

    Some of Earth’s places are warming, and some are cooling. Net net, there’s less than 1/2 a degree of warming during the past 1/4 century, so I personally have zero concern, as that is well within the statistical margin of error to be expected given the hugely inefficient modalities for sampling temperature data globally.
    I won’t be voting for alarmists such as Bernie Sanders, that’s for damned sure.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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