National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

What's New

The image is of ocean surface temperature in 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Despite the weakening 2015/16 El Niño event in 2016, the global average sea surface temperature in 2016 beat 2015 as the warmest year on record by a narrow margin. Image credit: NOAA Climate.gov map, adapted from Figure 3.1a in State of the Climate in 2016.

The image is of ocean surface temperature in 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Despite the weakening 2015/16 El Niño event in 2016, the global average sea surface temperature in 2016 beat 2015 as the warmest year on record by a narrow margin. Image credit: NOAA Climate.gov map, adapted from Figure 3.1a in State of the Climate in 2016.

August 11, 2017

On August 10th, the State of the Climate in 2016 was published in a special edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This 27th annual report is based on contributions from more than 500 scientists representing over 60 countries around the world. It is the most comprehensive annual summary of Earth’s climate and provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events and other data collected from locations on land, water, ice, and in space.

PMEL, including JISAO and JIMAR, scientists contributed to sections on the global ocean carbon cycle, ocean heat content and arctic air temperature.

The new report confirmed that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of recordkeeping. Several climate indicators also set new records in 2016, including greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level, and sea surface temperature. The Arctic also continued to warm with average Arctic land surface temperature 3.6°F (2.0°C) above the 1981-2010 average and sea ice extent and thickness remained low.

Dr. Gregory C. Johnson, PMEL oceanographer and editor for the ocean chapter, sums up in Haiku form: 

Large El Niño wanes,
east Pacific tropics cool,
seas shed heat, slow rise

Read the full report, press release and report highlights.

PMEL in the News

August 09, 2017

Seattle has officially tied the longest streak of rain-free weather at 51 days. At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, we broke that record. With a few showers finally returning to the forecast by Sunday and Monday of next week we'll probably end the streak at 56 or 57 days. 

August 09, 2017

Soggy Seattle clocked the wettest winter on record just months ago. Now, the city known for its Gore-Tex and overcast days has gone in the other extreme: it's in its longest dry streak in more than six decades. As of Tuesday, 52 consecutive dry days have been measured at Seattle-Tacoma...

August 08, 2017

Global warming can’t be blamed for 2017’s wild swings in rainfall, but scientists say slightly wetter winters and drier summers might be more common in the future.