The earth’s annual temperature: How does 2017 rank?

Dear Tom,
A few of the years since 2000 have ranked among the Earth’s warmest since accurate records began. Where does 2017 rank?
— Mildred Pico
Dear Mildred,
Federal climate experts (in reports prepared independently by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) tell us that global temperatures ranked at near-record levels in 2017 since records began in 1880. NASA ranked it second warmest, and NOAA ranked it third warmest. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
According to NASA, global average temperatures were 1.62 degrees above the 1951-80 mean; NOAA said it was 1.51 degrees higher. In 2016, the global average temperature was the highest ever recorded.