CLIMATE CHANGE | 2018 the 4th warmest year amid continued warming trend
WASHINGTON — The global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest in the modern record, showed annual analyses released on Wednesday.
Global temperatures in 2018 rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015 and the past five years are, collectively, the warmest years since 1880, according to scientists at the United States space agency NASA.
The temperature last year were 0.83 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to NASA.
“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
The average global surface temperature has risen about 1 degree Celsius since 1880s, a clear signal that our planet is warming, according to NASA.
Both the sea surface temperature and the land surface temperature ranked the fourth highest on record, according to NOAA.
In an independent analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2018 global temperatures were 0.79 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average, marking the 42nd consecutive year since 1977 with an above-average global temperature.
Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest, according to NOAA.
“The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one,” said Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
WMO also released a report on Wednesday that the globally averaged temperature in 2018 was about 0.38 degrees Celsius above the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.
“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt: in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Schmidt.
In 2018, the U.S. experienced 14 weather and climate disasters, each with losses exceeding 1 billion U.S. dollars and all totaling around 91 billion dollars in damages, according to NOAA.
It was largely driven by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities, according to Schmidt.