Even without El Nino last year, Earth keeps on warming

Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press via Associated Press

FILE – In this Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 file photo, a man walks his dog across the snow-covered beach while a cargo ship sits in the steaming fog of Lake Ontario in Toronto. According to a report released on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, U.S. and British scientists calculate that 2017 wasn’t the hottest year on record, but close and unusually warm for no El Nino cooking the books.

WASHINGTON — Earth last year wasn’t quite as hot as 2016’s record-shattering mark, but it ranked second or third, depending on who was counting.

Either way, scientists say it showed a clear signal of man-made global warming because it was the hottest year they’ve seen without an El Nino boosting temperatures naturally.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the United Kingdom’s meteorological office on Thursday announced that 2017 was the third hottest year on record. At the same time, NASA and researchers from a nonprofit in Berkeley, California, called it the second.

The agencies slightly differ because of how much they count an overheating Arctic, where there are gaps in the data.

The global average temperature in 2017 was 58.51 degrees (14.7 degrees Celsius), which is 1.51 degrees (0.84 Celsius) above the 20th century average and just behind 2016 and 2015, NOAA said. Other agencies’ figures were close but not quite the same.

Earlier, European forecasters called 2017 the second hottest year, while the Japanese Meteorological Agency called it the third hottest. Two other scientific groups that use satellite, not ground, measurements split on 2017 being second or third hottest. With four teams calling it the second hottest year…

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