Earth just experienced one of the warmest years on record

Olive Hawkins
February 7, 2019

Global temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since records began in 1880, United States government scientists have confirmed. 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.

"There's no question about those trends existing however we slice it and our understanding of why those trends are occurring is also robust", Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NY said Wednesday.

"Across the globe, 2018 was extremely warm, with only a few places that were below our normal period [which runs from 1951 to 1980]", Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said during a news conference held to announce the report. In the contiguous US, there were nine states that had their wettest year on record, with record-breaking rainfall.

NOAA and NASA contribute data to the WMO.

This year has also started with scorching temperatures, with destructive bushfires ravaging Tasmania as they endure their driest January ever.

Meanwhile, parts of the United States suffered bone-chilling cold from a blast of Arctic air last week.

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NASA declared Wednesday that 2018 was the fourth-hottest year in 139 years of records as average global temperatures rose alongside surging fossil fuel emissions.

The past five years have been the hottest in human history. That's 1.42 degrees (0.79 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average. The Paris pact responded to a 1992 United Nations treaty under which all governments agreed to avert "dangerous" man-made climate change.

Schmidt also stated he was "very concerned with what is going on in the Arctic" as it is heating up at twice the average rate of the rest of the world, and 2018 saw the average extent of sea ice at its lowest level.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has cast doubt on mainstream climate science and promotes the coal industry, plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.

Patrick Verkooijen, head of the Global Center on Adaptation in the Netherlands, told Reuters that the WMO report showed "climate change is not a distant phenomenon but is here right now".

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