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NASA: 2015 'shattered' warmest year on record

Posted at 7:38 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 22:17:03-05

It's confirmed: 2015 was the warmest year on record, according to data gathered by NASA and NOAA officials. 

Experts said the Earth's temperature rose .23 degrees last year, and while that may not seem like much, it shattered the record of warmest global temperature set a year prior, making it the largest year-to-year increase in more than a decade.

The data was gathered from more than six thousand weather stations across the globe.

While the current El Niño likely contributed to some of that warming, scientists at NASA say it is the continuance of a larger and longer term trend.

"This is an exclamation point on a pattern decades-long of warming. So it kind of confirms and reinforces the fact and the knowledge that we live in a warming world and a world that continues to warm," climate scientist Deke Arndt said.

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Local climatologists say the warming trend has been responsible for increased extreme weather, including in Colorado. If and when it continues, they say it could cause even more extreme weather in the future.

"More high temperatures, more heat waves, more drought and wildfires in the summertime. And then stronger storms, more strong hurricanes, potential for greater damage from wind storms and flooding," said Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Scientists said that with an increase in temperatures comes an increase in moisture along the atmosphere due to evaporation, which contributes to extreme weather.

Trenberth added that mountain climates like Colorado are actually more sensitive to the warming of the earth, due to the swings between hot and cold.

For the full report, head over NASA's global analysis here

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