Even without El Nino last year, Earth keeps on warming

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017 file photo, a man walks his dog across the snow-covered beach while a cargo ship sits in the steaming fog of Lake Ontario in Toronto. According to a report released on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, U.S. and British scientists calculate that 2017 wasn’t the hottest year on record, but close and unusually warm for no El Nino cooking the books. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists say last year wasn’t quite as hot as 2016’s record-shattering mark, but it ranked either second or third, depending on who was counting.

Either way, scientists say it showed a clear signal of man-made global warming because it was the hottest year they’ve seen without an El Nino boosting temperatures naturally.

Government agencies from the U.S. and the U.K., as well as a nonprofit group in Berkeley, California, announced Thursday that by their varying measurements 2017 was either the third or second hottest year of any kind on record.

One agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says 2017’s global average temperature was 1.51 degrees (0.84 Celsius) above the 20th century average, but lower than those of 2016 and 2015.

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