NASA and NOAA climate scientists announced recently what many had already suspected: 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded on our planet. But surprising to some was just how hot it was. The global temperature smashed the previous record set in 2014 by a wide margin. Most scientists attribute the warm-up in large part to human greenhouse-gas emissions, combined with a powerful El Niño weather pattern. In December, more than 200 nations reached a landmark climate accord to try to slow the globe’s warming… but 2015’s sharp increase could put the temperature targets set in Paris in a new light. And with U.S. election season in full swing, the news could force the climate issue to the fore for presidential candidates. What the warming of the planet could mean for weather patterns, climate policy, and hitting global temperature goals.