For the Third Year in a Row, Earth Has Its Warmest Year on Record

Did You Know?

  • 16 of the 17 warmest years on record globally have occurred since 2001.
  • 8 of the 12 months that make up the year 2016 were the warmest on record. 
  • Earth’s average temperature has risen about 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

The global average annual temperature in 2016 was the warmest on record. This is the 16th time since 2001 and the third year in a row that a year has concluded as the warmest on record, continuing a long-term warming trend that has been tracked and predicted by NASA and NOAA scientists.

While 2016 was the warmest on record globally, there were regional variations in average annual temperature. For example, NASA and NOAA reported that the 2016 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the second warmest on record. In contrast, the Arctic experienced its warmest year ever, occompanied by record low sea ice levels found in that region for most of the year.

The warming effect from El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean had an assist in the record-breaking temperatures, but it is ultimately the cumulative effect of the long-term warming trend that has resulted in 2016 being the warmest year on record globally.

Learn More:

  • Watch the video below to see the earth’s long-term warming trend from 1880 to 2016.


What You Can Do

  • Save money, energy, water, and fuel by making simple adjustments to your daily routine with the Resolve to Save Calendar.


  • NASA. 2017. "NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally." Accessed January 23. 
  • NOAA. 2017. “Global Summary Information – December 2015”. Accessed January 23.