2018 fourth hottest year on record

Cristina Cross
February 9, 2019

According to NOAA findings, Europe in particular experienced its "warmest year on record", as many countries, including France, Germany and Switzerland, dealt with their hottest 12 months in recent history.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but with a different baseline period and different interpolation into the Earth's polar and other data poor regions.

"The long-term trends are extremely robust", said Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

NASA notes that with weather station locations and measurement practices changing over time, the interpretation of the data has some uncertainty.

The warmest year was 2016, followed by 2017, 2015, 2018 and 2014, according to NASA's rankings. Scientists say that if the world is to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, global temperatures must not rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels. The Earth's temperature in 2018 was more than 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average temperature of the late 19th century, when humans started pumping large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, individual years do see fluctuations due to phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina in the equatorial Pacific, said Deke Arndt, a scientist at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. That means 2018 was the fourth hottest year recorded in over 100 years.

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Increasing temperatures can "contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events", Nasa also warned. The Secretary-General is working closely with Member States and non-party stakeholders to bring outcomes in these areas to the Summit that will send strong market and political signals that can inject momentum into the race to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Those higher temperatures continue to drive the decline in sea ice in the Arctic. "Greenhouse gas emission reduction and climate adaptation measures should be a top global priority".

"If there was no warming of average temperatures, there would be about an even chance of a daily record high maximum or daily record low minimum occurring", said Meehl, who was not involved in the report.

The average surface temperature was 1.0 degree Celsius above average in the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).

"2015 was the first year that global annual average surface temperatures reached 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels and the following three years have all remained close to this level", Adam Scaife, head of Long-Range Prediction at the Met Office, said Wednesday in a news release.

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