The 2015 State of the Climate report examined 50 different aspects of climate , including dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and glaciers worldwide. A dozen different nations set hottest year records, including Russia and China. South Africa had the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of October: 119.1 degrees Fahrenheit (48.4 degrees Celsius).
Even though it was a relatively quiet hurricane year in the Atlantic, there were 36 major tropical cyclones worldwide — 15 more than average, said NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, co-editor of the report published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
And at the heart of the records is that all three major heat-trapping greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — hit record highs in 2015, Blunden said.
“There is really only one word for this parade of shattered climate records: grim,” said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb, who wasn’t part of the report, but called it “exhaustive and thorough.”
But it’s more than just numbers on a graph. Scientists said the turbo-charged climate affected walrus and penguin populations and played a role in dangerous algae blooms, such as one off the Pacific Northwest coast. And there were brutal heat waves all over the world, with ones in Indian and Pakistan killing thousands of people. One-third of Earth’s land mass had some kind of drought last year.