New federal data makes it abundantly clear that 2017 will be among the warmest years in the modern temperature record that dates back to the late 1800s.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global temperature for January–November period was 0.84°C above the 20th-century average, placing it behind the two warmest years on record — 2016 and 2015 respectively (see chart above).
Why it matters: Scientists are warning that, despite progress in slowing global carbon emissions, the world is still on pace to eventually have warming that goes beyond 2°C above the pre-industrial average — the level determined by the Paris climate agreement that would ward off the most dangerous climatic changes.
Place or show: NASA uses a slightly different methodology than NOAA to track global temperatures. Gavin Schmidt, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said via Twitter yesterday that 2017 is almost certain to be the second-warmest on record.