2017 will be the warmest year in history without an El Niño.
Data released separately by NASA and NOAA on Monday show that on every continent and in every ocean basin, remarkable warmth has lingered planet-wide from last year’s record-breaking heights.
No matter what December might reasonably bring, 2017 will almost certainly end up as either the second or third warmest year since humans began keeping close track more than 120 years ago. Every major independent assessment of global temperatures confirms 2017’s lofty warmth. This year will fall short of only 2016 and possibly 2015, both of which were affected by a strong El Niño (which tends to boost global temperatures).
The United States is on track for its third warmest year on record, with eight southern states from Arizona to Virginia on pace for their hottest years. Only a tiny section of eastern Washington state is on pace to record a cooler-than-average year.
Last month’s formation of a La Niña in the Pacific Ocean will likely lead to slightly cooler global temperatures in 2018. Regardless, next year is still likely to rank among the top 10 warmest years on record.