Earth  ID: 12306

Record-Breaking Climate Trends 2016 – Rising Temperatures and Shrinking Sea Ice

Two key climate change indicators have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in the modern temperature record, which dates to 1880. Meanwhile, five of the first six months set records for the smallest monthly Arctic sea ice extent since consistent satellite records began in 1979. NASA researchers are in the field this summer, collecting data to better understand our changing climate.

While these two key climate indicators have broken records of late, NASA scientists said it is more significant that global temperature and Arctic sea ice are continuing their decades-long trends of change. Both trends are ultimately driven by rising atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases as a result of fossil fuel burning and deforestation. These rising concentrations directly cause warming of the atmosphere and ocean, which in turn induce sea ice melt.

NASA tracks temperature and sea ice as part of its effort to understand the Earth as a system and to understand how Earth is changing. In addition to maintaining a fleet of 20 Earth-observing satellite missions, NASA also sends researchers around the globe to investigate different facets of the planet at closer range. Right now, NASA researchers are working across the Arctic to better understand both the processes driving increased sea ice melt and the impacts of rising temperatures on Arctic ecosystems.



Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Producer
Kathryn Mersmann (Intern): Editor
Trent L. Schindler (USRA): Animator
Kathryn Mersmann (Intern): Writer
Maria-Jose Vinas Garcia (Telophase): Writer
Patricia C. Flores (Intern): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Some footage compliments of Sander Veraverbeke, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

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Operation IceBridge

SVS >> Sea Ice
SVS >> Temperature
SVS >> Temperature Trend
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Climate Indicators
SVS >> Climate Change
SVS >> Climate >> Temperature
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version