Federal government researchers said Thursday that 2017 was the second hottest year on record in terms of global average surface temperatures.
The finding by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) follows three years in a row in which global temperature hit a new record. Last year’s average temperature was eclipsed only by 2016’s.
The heat average is part of a trend of more than four decades of rising global temperatures, which researchers say is nearly certain to be a sign of climate change, attributable primarily to greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.
“We are in a long-term warming trend, despite the ups and downs that we sometimes get on an annual basis,” Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told reporters.