Meteorologists say Earth's 'fever rises'

Our Planet's Annual Physical Results Are In: 'Earth's Fever Rises'

The American Meteorologist Society published the State of the Climate report for 2015, and the findings are pretty alarming. Numerous records were broken, such as the highest temperature on record and the highest amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

This is the 26th annual State of the Climate, which is released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, discussed the report during a teleconference.

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"We have to understand how the planet is changing and varying ... in order to understand where we may be going in the future," he said.

The report says that the unprecedented warmth in 2015 was due in part to a strong El Niño, the warm phase in the Pacific. It was so powerful that NASA climatologist Bill Patzert nicknamed it "Godzilla." This, along with the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, results in the increase in temperature.

There have been other effects besides the drastic rise in temperature, too -- other worrisome environmental records have been set. Last year, we saw the highest amount of heat energy absorbed by the oceans as well as the lowest groundwater storage levels -- throughout the world. There was a record number of hurricanes in the Pacific as well.

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Severe, hot summer weather in the US in 2016
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Severe, hot summer weather in the US in 2016
A woman rests in the shade during a hot and sunny day at Central Park in New York July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
People sit in the shade around the fountain at the Christian Science Plaza on a hot summer day in Boston, Massachusetts July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A helicopter drops water near a hot spot on the Wagg Fire near Lake Berryessa, California July 24, 2015. A rapidly expanding wildfire in Northern California is threatening about 150 structures and has forced evacuations in several rural areas as the wind-whipped blaze rips across parched vegetation, officials said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
People cool off beside a fountain during heat wave at the Word War Two Memorial in Washington July 18, 2013. The northeastern United States sweltered on Tuesday in a scorching summer heat wave, complete with stagnant, sticky air and no winds for relief, forecasters said. Even in a summer already filled with stretches of very hot weather, this week will be stubbornly brutal, with no relief in sight until the weekend brings thunderstorms to the region, they said. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: WEATHER)
Friends Grace Greenwood (L) and Alex Place, both of Arlington, Virginia, leap into a water sprinkler for a "high ten" during heat wave at the Washington Monument in Washington July 18, 2013. Greenwood was celebrating her birthday with a visit into the city. The nation's capital is experiencing a heat wave with temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
NEW YORK CITY, NY, UNITED STATES - 2016/07/24: New York City, New York. A dog keep cool during a heatwave across the city. (Photo by Louise Wateridge/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
People enjoy a day in the pool during a heat wave called "Heat Dome" in the Astoria borough of New York, U.S., July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Children play in a fountain during a heat wave in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People cool off in the Pacific Ocean during a record-setting heat wave across the U.S. Southwest, on the summer solstice in Santa Monica, California, U.S. June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Jun 5, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; A general view as storm clouds roll over Oriole Park at Camden Yards during the eighth inning of the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees . Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

While we may not have felt those records breaking, the shift in climate appeared in other ways we can more easily see. The Western United States experienced heavy rain and flooding, while parts of Africa and India experienced drought.

Not only that, but wildlife is also impacted by these changes. Penguin and walrus populations severely declined. Humans were not immune either: people in India and Pakistan died from extreme heat.

NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden, co-editor of the report, urged people to take this seriously. She said, "This impacts people. This is real life."

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