• View of the Earth from space taken during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 showing Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. (AAP)
US agency NOAA's annual report on the climate shows 2016 was the hottest year, had the highest sea level and the lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.
11 Aug - 4:26 AM  UPDATED 11 Aug - 5:07 AM

Global warming has helped fuel the hottest year on record in 2016, with greenhouse gas concentrations reaching a new high, a US government report says.

The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also cites a strong El Nino cycle as a factor behind the third consecutive year of record global warmth.

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The report released on Thursday says last year's global weather was far more extreme or record breaking than anything approaching normal.

NOAA's annual state of the climate 2016 report highlighted numerous records including hottest year, highest sea level and lowest sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctica.

The report said the world's glaciers shrank, for the 37th year in a row, by an average of about a metre.

Extreme downpours and droughts were up, as were tropical cyclones. Heat stored in the upper oceans was a near record high.

Report co-editor Deke Arndt says the only normal global measure was snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile scientists say climate change is affecting the timing of river floods across Europe, with the biggest shifts seen along the Atlantic coast.

Researchers looked at data across a 50-year period, finding that half the measurement stations in western Europe, from England to Portugal, showed floods happening more than two weeks earlier by 2010.

In a paper published on Thursday by the journal Science, the researchers found that earlier snow melts are also bringing floods in northeastern Europe forward by over a week.

Floods around the North Sea area are happening more than a week later than in 1960.

The authors concluded that future climate change may force farmers, hydropower plants, water companies and residents in affected areas to adjust to shifts in flood patterns.