2015 was the hottest year ever on record. Scientists from the NASA, the US Space agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration say the average surface temperature across land and ocean globally was 0.90 C (1.62 F) surpassing the the record of 0.16 C (0.29 F) for 2014.
The World Meteorological Organisation had predicted, 2015 was likely to be the warmest on record, with 2011- 2015 being the warmest five year period, in November last year.
The US scientists said during 2015, the average global land surface temperature was 1.33 C (2.39F) above the 20th century average.
While the average global sea surface temperature was 0.74 C (1.33 F) above the 20th century average.
El Niño was partly a contributory factor but the scientists say human activities including burning fossil fuels were the main drivers behind the rise. “ 2015 would have been the warmest year on record without El Niño. But the occurrence of El Niño at the same time, starting in late 2015, pushed the global temperatures even slightly higher than they would have been ,” said NASA Scientist Compton Tucker.
Eastern and Southern Africa, Central America, northern half of South America, parts of southern, northern and eastern Europe, Western Asia were among the warmest.
Experts say the 2015 data underscore the need to cut green house gas emissions as agreed on in Paris to well below 2 degrees Celcius.
“This is due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which acts as an insulating blanket around the earth and traps outgoing long wave radiation. It’s just like putting an extra blanket on your bed at night. It keeps you warmer, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps the Earth warmer. More carbon dioxide keeps the earth even warmer”, Tucker said.