It’s official: 2015 surpassed 2014 as the hottest year on Earth since the second half of the 19th century, when humanity started burning increasing amounts of fossil fuels to power factories and transportation.
According to State of the Climate 2015, a report released Tuesday by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, a strong El Niño amplified the effects of long-term climate change, thus driving 2015’s average global temperatures 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 1 degree Celsius) higher than preindustrial norms.
That beat 2014’s record high by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit (0.1 degrees Celsius).
Sea surface temperatures and upper ocean heat also hit the highest average temperatures ever recorded, and global sea levels were the highest in the satellite measurements record, which began in 1993.
Communities around the world felt the effects. Forest fires began burning in March in Saskatchewan, Canada, torching 4.5 million acres, six times the provincial average. The fires spurred the evacuation of 13,000 people from their homes.
Record-high temperatures in Alaska helped trigger the state’s second-worst wildfire season—more than 5.1 acres burned—and the state’s glaciers (along with glaciers around the world) lost more ice than in any other year on record.
In Karachi, Pakistan, an extreme heat wave in June killed more than 1,000 residents. In October, Hurricane Patricia forced tens of thousands to evacuate their homes on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Hitting the state of Jalisco with winds of 150 miles per hour, the hurricane killed six, destroyed around 9,000 homes, and damaged or destroyed nearly 60,000 acres of crops.
“I think clearly the report in 2015 shows not only that the temperature of the planet is increasing but all the related symptoms that you would expect to see in rising temperature are occurring,” said Thomas Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. He spoke at a press conference on Tuesday to present the peer-reviewed report, which was authored by 456 scientists from 62 nations.
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SOURCE: Yahoo News, TakePart.com