The animation above from NOAA shows annual temperatures each year from 1880 – when modern record-keeping began – through record-warm 2016, compared to the twentieth-century average.
NOAA described the animation in a statement:
The maps from the early years in the animation are dominated by shades of blue, indicating temperatures were up to 3°C (5.4°F) cooler than the twentieth-century average. By the 1980s, the maps take on shades of yellow, with a few large cooler-than-average spots shifting around from year to year. By the 2000s, most of the planet is orange and red—up to 3°C (5.4°F) warmer than the long-term average, with only a few isolated cool spots from year to year. In recent years, the maps are dominated by shades of red.
2016 is officially the warmest year on record, edging out previous record holder 2015, according to NOAA. It’s the third year in a row that global average surface temperature set a new record, and the fifth time the record has been broken since the start of the twenty-first century.
According to climate experts, global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases doesn’t necessarily mean that each year will be warmer than the previous year. Natural variability will continue to make some years warmer or cooler than the year before, even as Earth warms over the long-term. For example, scientist say that the string of three record-breaking years in a row is unlikely to continue in 2017, especially because La Niña developed in late 2016 and continued into early 2017.
For more stats and information on global climate in 2016, read the summary from the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Bottom line: A NOAA animation shows warming global surface temperatures from 1880 through record-warm 2016.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.