Despite the best efforts of the EPA and the White House to stick their heads in the sand, climate change remains a real and looming threat. Unsurprisingly, according to NASA, 2017 was the second-hottest year on record. According to federal agency’s analysis, the surface temperature of the Earth was the second-warmest since 1880 (2016 was the warmest). In what NASA calls a “long-term warming trend,” the temperature in 2017 was 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average temperature between 1951 and 1980.
However, a different government agency has concluded that 2017 was merely the third-warmest year on record, but their results are no less sobering:
In a separate, independent analysis, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concluded that 2017 was the third-warmest year in their record. The minor difference in rankings is due to the different methods used by the two agencies to analyze global temperatures, although over the long-term the agencies’ records remain in strong agreement. Both analyses show that the five warmest years on record all have taken place since 2010.
Even when taking both NASA and NOAA’s data into account, 2017 was the third consecutive year in which the temperature was 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or more above the averages from the 19th century. Had 2017 featured an El Nino event, which warms the upper tropical Pacific Ocean, like the two proceeding years, it probably would have ranked as the warmest year on record.