Weather and Natural Disasters

So far this is Earth's second-warmest year on record

Key Points
  • This is the second-warmest year since the beginning of record-keeping.
  • Nine of the 10 warmest January-September periods on record have happened since 2005
People cool off in swimming pools in São Paulo on a hot winter Sunday last month.
Cris Faga | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Earth is feeling its second-warmest year to date on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday.

The year-to-date temperature of global land and ocean surfaces was 1.57 degrees above the 20th century average of 57.5 degrees. That is lower than 2016's record-setting temperature by 0.23 degree, but just ahead of third-place 2015 by 0.01 degree.

September was also the fourth warmest such month on record, the report said. NOAA's global land and sea temperature records date back to 1880.

The first iceberg of the season passes the South Shore, also known as Iceberg Alley, near Ferryland, Newfoundland, Canada, April 16, 2017.
Greg Locke | Reuters

Based on the data, it is likely 2017 will end up among the three warmest years on file, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information in their State of the Climate Report for the month of September, published Wednesday. It also could end up being the warmest year without the influence of an El Nino or La Nina climate phase. Both are part of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, a climate cycle that can have significant effects on temperatures around the world.

Nine of the 10 warmest January-September global land and ocean temperatures on record have occurred since 2005. The sole year for this period from the 20th century that even makes into the top 10 occurred near the century's very end — 1998.