Earth just suffered through its 4th hottest year on record

Pablo Tucker
February 8, 2019

In statements given out by scientists, world is in the middle of what is likely to be the warmest 10 years since records began in 1850.

All the data points to one conclusion: 2018 was hotter than every single year between 1880 and 2014; only the three prior years were warmer than last year.

The UN's World Meteorological Organization said in November that 2018 was set to be the fourth warmest year in recorded history, stressing the urgent need for action to rein in runaway planetary warming. Taking this into account, NASA estimates that 2018's global mean change is accurate to within 0.1 degree Fahrenheit, with a 95 percent certainty level. NASA said the Earth's global surface temperatures last year were the fourth warmest in nearly 140 years, with the warming trends strongest in the Arctic region.

On Wednesday it incorporated the final weeks of a year ago into its climate models and concluded that average global surface temperature in 2018 was 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial baseline levels.


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).

Commenting on the figures announced, WMO secretary general Petteri Taalas said: "The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one". The warming trends are most evident in the Arctic, NASA said.

Weather dynamics mean warming affects regions in different ways.

The strongest warming trends are seen in the Arctic region with continued loss of sea ice in 2018.


All the results show the same "escalator-like" rise that scientists think is linked to the loss of sea ice, as well as an increase in extreme weather events around the world.

"Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events".

NASA's temperature analyses came from 6,300 weather stations, ship and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.


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