Last Year Was Hottest On Record By Wide Margin
Sky News US Team
2015 was the planet's hottest year by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping, US government scientists have said.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says 2015's average temperature was 58.62F (14.79C).
That was 1.62F above the 20th century average and 0.29F above 2014, according to NOAA.
The report also marks the fourth time in 11 years that a global temperature record was set.
The findings were confirmed in a separate analysis by NASA scientists.
Scientists blame man-made global warming and El Nino.
The heat in 2015 was felt worldwide, including record highs in Central America and parts of South America.
Hot temperatures also scorched parts of Europe as well as western Asia and east-central Siberia.
Regions of eastern and southern Africa and the Pacific also experienced more blistering heat than ever.
The study will raise fresh concerns about the accelerating pace of global warming.
NASA said the trend is being driven by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.
"Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
World powers agreed at the Paris climate talks in December to a goal of capping temperature rises at 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Many scientists say the planet is already about halfway to that milestone, with no sign of slowing down.
As a result, melting ice sheets and warming oceans will lead to rising seas in the coming years.
Former US Vice President and Nobel laureate Al Gore tweeted: "The #ParisAgreement was the beginning. Now we must act!"