Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
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NASA confirms 2018 was officially Earth's fourth hottest year

NASA confirms 2018 was officially Earth's fourth hottest year

The last five years were collectively the world's warmest on record, two of the largest USA science agencies announced on Wednesday. The year 2016, which was 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th-century average, holds the top spot, with 2018 at 1.42 degrees F warmer.

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

"The key message is that the planet is warming, " said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The average global surface temperatures have risen about two degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s. "It's the long-term trends that are having impacts on ice, on severity of droughts, on heat waves, on sea level rise and wildfires".

Sadly, the increasingly warm temperatures are being caused by human activity due to the growing numbers of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Climate change has accelerated the rate of ice loss across the continent. The UN body also said that 2019 had picked up where 2018 left off, with Australia experiencing its warmest January on record.

The records also show that the annual temperature of the Old Continent increased at an average rate of 0.12 Celsius degrees per decade since 1910, although it has nearly quadrupled to 0.43 Celsius since 1981.


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. NASA, for instance, ranked 2015 as the third-warmest year on record while NOAA found it was 2017.

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

It was also an expensive year for natural disasters.

Trump has vowed to pull out of the 2015 Paris agreement forged by almost 200 countries, including the U.S. The pact sets a goal of keeping global warming "well below" 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial levels, a threshold meant to avert the most devastating and irreversible effects of climate change.

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

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