The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their year-end report on the planet’s average temperatures, and 2015 has proven to the warmest year since record keeping began in 1880 — by a wide margin. The year also left a trail of multiple broken temperature records in it’s wake, for both yearly and monthly records over land, sea, and combined averages.
2015’s global average temperature was a full 1.62ºF (0.90ºC) above the 20th century average, and it beat 2014’s record temperature by 0.29ºF (0.16ºC). This margin is also a record, in-of-itself, being the widest observed margin on record.
Over the course of the year, ten of 2015’s months also broke all-time high records for their respective months, with December breaking a record as having the highest above-average temperature since records were first kept in 1880, at a full 2.00ºF (1.11ºC) above the 20th century average. Over the year, global average sea surface temperatures also broke a record, at 1.33ºF (0.74ºC) above the 20th century average, with (yet another) record-breaking margin of 0.20ºF over 2014’s record.
Conversely, the lower stratosphere saw either the 13th or 14th lowest average temperature on record, depending on the source: since heat is being trapped nearer to the planet’s surface via the greenhouse effect, this means that there is less heat making it back into the upper atmosphere, causing the upper layers to cool.