Was Earth's Fourth-Hottest Year On Record, Scientists Say

09 February, 2019, 21:37 | Author: Tara Reeves

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a 2018 climate assessment Wednesday, and the temperatures continue to climb.

United States government scientists have announced that the Earth's average temperature was the fourth hottest on record in 2018.

According to NOAA, 2016 was the warmest year on record, followed by 2015 and 2017 in second and third place.

Last year was the fourth warmest year on record and the outlook is for more sizzling heat approaching levels that most view as unsafe for humankind on the Earth, a United Nations report has shown.

"You get ups and downs - years that are a little bit warmer, a little bit cooler - but the long-term underlying trend is very, very clear", said NASA climatologist Gavin Schmidt, who worked on the space agency's analysis. NOAA's analysis found 2018 global temperatures were 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit (0.79 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. The long-term trends are extremely robust. This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. "The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one", said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

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Americans escaped the worst of it last year though; while the rest of the planet cooked, the US experienced only its 14th-warmest year. The UN body also said that 2019 had picked up where 2018 left off, with Australia experiencing its warmest January on record.

NOAA and NASA each analyze temperature measurements from thousands of sites around the world, including weather stations on land and ships and buoys spread across the world's oceans.

In both data sets, the overall trend of global temperatures is rising.

Last year, 29 countries - including much of Europe and the Middle East - and the continent of Antarctica had their hottest years on record, said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist with the nonprofit research organization.

It was also an expensive year for natural disasters. According to NASA and NOAA, there were a total of 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events in the U.S.in 2018 alone, costing the nation $91 billion in direct economic damages and resulting in 247 deaths.

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