February 21, 2019

2018 fourth hottest year on record

08 February 2019, 09:42 | Dale Webster

ASSOCIATED PRESS Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp fire consume a home in Magalia California in November 2018

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp fire consume a home in Magalia California in November 2018

The last four years were the hottest since global temperature records began, the United Nations confirmed Wednesday in an analysis that it said was a "clear sign of continuing long-term climate change".

Bushfires burned across Tasmania in January. NASA said it's happening and will continue to happen for years to come. NASA, for instance, ranked 2015 as the third-warmest year on record while NOAA found it was 2017.

The damage included Hurricane Michael's US$25 billion tally and US$24 billion each from Hurricane Florence and the western wildfires. Meanwhile, record levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, trap ever more heat.

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.

"2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend", stated Gavin Smith, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Due to slight variations in their data, NASA and Berkeley Earth both have 2010 in 5th place, with 2014 following up in 6th. It's easy, if someone is skeptical to look at a hot year and say it's meaningless, we've been here before.

The British Met Office, which also contributes data to the WMO, said temperatures could rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, for instance if a natural El Nino weather event adds a burst of heat.

Taalas said that the deadly cold snap was entirely consistent with the effects of man made climate change, including the warming of the poles.

Specifically, NASA said global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the average from 1951 to 1980. That's 1.42 degrees (0.79 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average.

The text written by the United States institutions also highlighted that much of Europe, New Zealand and Middle East regions, as well as Russian Federation, recorded higher temperatures on land, while areas of the South Pacific Ocean and the North and South Atlantic also suffered maximum temperatures in the sea surface.

It will provide a comprehensive overview of temperature variability and trends, high-impact events, and key indicators of long-term climate change such as increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, sea level rise and ocean acidification.

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