The temperature record, announced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), marks a new era in modern record keeping with three years in a row of new record highs, which last occurred in the 1930s. Without the El Niño boost, 2017 is likely to be cooler than 2016, but NASA scientists believe it'll still definitely be among the top five hottest years on record. The year 2016, in fact, marked the third consecutive warmest year on record globally, with the months from January to August emerging as the warmest on record.
For example, both NASA and NOAA found the 2016 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the second warmest on record.
The planet's average surface temperature has risen by about 0.99°C (1.78°F) since the mid-20th century - a change that has been brought on by increased carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
Most of the warming has occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.
The strong El Nino during early 2016 clearly had an overall warming influence on the planet in addition to the record warmth of the global oceans. Near the Equator, India set a temperature record on May 19, with the town of Phalodi reaching a sweltering 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit, according to The New York Times.
For the third year in a row, Earth has shattered heat records.
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"Bottom line (which remains unchanged by the 2016 global temperatures) ... climate models continue to look like they produce too much warming", Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist with the libertarian Cato Institute, wrote in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
For eight consecutive months previous year - January to August - the globe experienced record warm heat.
"Warming (is) almost everywhere", Corinne Le Quere, director of England's Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said.
NASA has used various means of gathering data for temperature analysis. "We are now no longer only looking at something that only scientists can see, but is apparent to people in our daily lives".
Since measurement methods get transformed over the passage of time, there were bound to be hitches on the way to an accurate portrayal of the global temperatures.