(08/11/2016)
A 2016 drought struck over 40 USA states, with West Virginia doing well with rainfall, with the world is reaching record high temperatures.

Seventeen years ago West Virginia was experiencing one of the worst droughts in the state's history.

All 55 counties were declared as being part of a federal drought disaster area.

It's estimated farmers in the state lost $80 million.

The world is on pace to set another high temperature benchmark, with 2016 becoming the third year in a row of record heat.

NASA scientists announced that global temperatures so far this year were much higher than in the first half of 2015.

Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said that while the first six months of 2015 made it the hottest half-year ever recorded, "2016 really has blown that out of the water."

Dr. Schmidt said the world was now "dancing" with the temperature targets set last year in the Paris climate treaty for nations to limit climate change, widely proclaimed as a hoax by many US Republicans or declaring it a cyclical "act of god," unrelated to human causation.

The warming in the first half of this year extended across all parts of the planet except for most of Antarctica, Dr. Schmidt said.

Warming was especially strong in the Arctic, where it had an effect on sea ice coverage and melting of the polar caps.

Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius has special significance because at the Paris climate treaty in December, the world agreed to aim to limit the increase in average global temperatures to that amount above preindustrial levels. Dr. Schmidt said that although NASA did not usually offer midyear updates to its global surface temperature analysis, it had decided to do so now "because average temperatures for the first half of this year are so in excess of any first part of a year we've seen."

January 2016 was the hottest January since 1880, and that distinction continued for each month through June, NASA said.

Dr. Schmidt said that although El Niņo contributed to some of the increase in temperatures from last year, almost all of the increase since the 1960s was because of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Forecasters now expect that later this year, sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific will become lower than normal, a condition called La Niņa. That should result in somewhat lower global temperatures next year, he said.

The NASA announcement reflects long-term trends in a climate affected by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


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