Confirming Long-Term Trend, 2018 Was Fourth Warmest Year on Record

Olive Hawkins
February 9, 2019

NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth's average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in almost 140 years of record-keeping and a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend, The New York Times reports.

The global climate record dates back to 1880, the year that it became possible to gather reliable and consistent temperatures around the Earth.

This year has also started with scorching temperatures, including Australia's warmest January on record, while North America had the complete opposite, experiencing a polar vortex that plunged parts of America into temperatures colder than that of Antarctica's. It was also nominally the warmest year for Europe (and particularly the hottest in France, Germany and Switzerland) since continental records began in 1910.

"We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future", said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about one degree Celsius.

There were 14 weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion, for a total of $91 billion, Arndt said.

"The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years".

NASA and NOAA independently monitor the Earth's surface temperatures and changes based on observations of both land areas and oceans, using a network of satellites scattered in Earth orbit. "2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend".

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The data indicate that global warming shows no sign of stopping. Lower than normal temperatures are shown in blue.

The report also noted that the United States experienced 14 natural disasters in 2018 that each caused economic losses of over one billion dollars.

The World Meteorological Organization announced similar findings Wednesday.

In fact, 2018 was the wettest year in the last 35 years.

The November report warned that climate change will intensify over the century without swift emissions cuts.

Government shutdowns can delay the collection and timely release of important scientific information, as was the case with the information released today.

But the US did get soaked in 2018, says Deke Arndt, a climate scientist with NOAA.

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