Washington: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year worldwide on record.
The world in 2018 was 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the average set between 1951 and 1980, said NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This means 2018’s average global temperatures were the fourth warmest since 1880, placing it behind 2016, 2017, and 2015.
This follows a broader pattern of human-induced climate change, which is boosting increasingly punishing heatwaves, sea-level rises, and extreme weather. Last year saw a pair of devastating hurricanes hit the eastern U.S., while record wildfires ravaged California.
There was disastrous flooding in India, a huge typhoon in the Philippines, and deadly wildfires in Greece and Sweden. The Arctic, which had its second-warmest year on record, experienced temperature highs that astonished scientists.
“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 impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt—in coastal flooding, heatwaves, intense precipitation, and ecosystem change.”
NASA and NOAA’s annual climate reports, which were delayed because of the federal government shutdown, echo findings by Berkley Earth and Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which both recently stated 2018 was the fourth warmest on record.
On Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organisation announced it, too, measuring 2018 as the fourth warmest on record. It said 2016 remains the warmest on record due to a particularly strong El Niño, which is a periodic event that warms parts of the Pacific Ocean and influences weather patterns around the world.