The envelope, please. There are so many great nominees, but there can only be one winner. The year with the record-setting highest temperature goes to...2015! We all knew you were headed for greatness, 2015, especially after that scorching October. But now it's official. Congratulations on your win.
Yes, 2015 was the hottest year on record, according to reports issued by NOAA and NASA today. It's the hottest year since records started being kept in 1880.
2015 takes the lead in a strong field of contenders. 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have happened since 2001, but really there was no contest. 2015 smashed the previous record set by 2014 by a whopping by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius), a stark difference that hasn't happened since 1998.
2015 was also the first year that the global average temperature was 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) above the average temperature in 1880 and 1899. It was also 1.62°F (0.90 degree Celsius) above the average temperature in the 20th century.
January and April were the only two months in 2015 that did not break a global temperature record for their individual months.
Part of the reason for the persistently high temperatures this year was El Niño, but 2015 was warm from the beginning, well before the El Niño really got started.
"2015 was remarkable even in the context of the ongoing El Niño," said Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt. "Last year's temperatures had an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing."
Schmidt, also said in a press conference today that because 2016 is starting with such a strong El Niño, it is likely that 2016 will be another hot year, definitely giving 2015 a run for its climate championship title.