Global surface temperatures increased by a record amount from 2014 to 2016, boosting the total amount of warming since 1900 by more than 25 per cent in just three years, new research has found. “Our paper is the first one to quantify this jump and identify the fundamental reason for this jump,” said lead author Jianjun Yin, Associate Professor at University of Arizona in the US.
The Earth’s average surface temperature climbed about 0.9 degree Celsius from 1900 to 2013. But by the end of 2016, the global surface temperature had climbed an additional 0.24 degree Celsius, said the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The spike in warming from 2014 to 2016 coincided with extreme weather events worldwide, including heat waves, droughts, floods, extensive melting of polar ice and global coral bleaching.
The new research shows that natural variability in the climate system is not sufficient to explain the 2014-16 temperature increase, said co-author Cheryl Peyser, a University of Arizona doctoral candidate.
The mechanism to figure out the temperature spike was built on previous work by Peyser, Yin and others.
The earlier work showed that although the Earth’s surface warming had slowed from 1998 to 2013, heat from additional atmospheric greenhouse gases was being sequestered in the Pacific Ocean. The strong 2015-16 El Nino roiled the ocean and released all the stored heat, causing a big jump in the Earth’s surface temperatures, the study said. “Our research shows global warming is accelerating,” Yin said.