Records show past year was the fourth-warmest

Gwen Vasquez
February 8, 2019

Earth's higher-than-average global surface temperatures in 2018 resulted in the year being named the fourth warmest on record, according to independent analyses released by two USA agencies Wednesday.

NASA registers 2018 "global temperatures" at 1.5 degrees F (0.83 degrees C) warmer than their average, while NOAA recorded "global land and ocean surfaces" 1.42 degrees F (0.79 degrees C) above the 20th century average.

The results mean that, put together, the last five years have been the hottest ever recorded, according to NASA.

"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change", said Schmidt.

Average global surface temperatures were 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times in 2018, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, based on data from U.S., British, Japanese and European weather agencies.

The Earth experienced its fourth-hottest year in more than 136 years in 2018.

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Due to the dynamic character of global weather patterns, not every place of the Earth experiences the same levels of warming. "You do tend to see some bouncing up and down superimposed upon a long-term trend", Deke Arndt, who leads global monitoring at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, said during the news conference.

Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, where 2018 saw the continued melt of sea ice.

"Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events. This is the reality we need to face up to", Taalas said.

Schmidt attributes this warming to be largely driven by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities.

To combat warming, nearly 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times while "pursuing efforts" for 1.5C (2.7F). Greenland ice sheets continue to suffer mass loss, which together with similar ice sheet loss in Antarctica, contributed to sea level rise.

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