2016 breaks global temperature record, third year in a row

Last year was officially the hottest year on record around the world, the third year in a row to obtain that dubious title.

Records by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began in 1880 and NASA says this is further evidence of a warming trend.

Global temperatures were nearly 1degC warmer than the mid-20th mean, and around 1.1degC since the late 19th century.

"2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series," says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

"We don't expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear."

NASA says the recent El Nino event only had a minor effect on the global average temperature, raising it by around 0.12degC.

A number of months also set records for the warmest on record - January, February, March, April, May, July, August and September - while October, November and December were the second warmest, behind 2015.

The news won't come as a surprise to most scientists - they were already predicting 2016 would be a record-breaker back in April.

Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have been in the 21st century.