Earth's Global Surface Temperatures Fourth Warmest in 2018

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NASA and NOAA have announced that the global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880.

Not content with being the fourth-hottest year since 1880, when it first became possible to collect reliable and consistent global temperatures, in the United States 2018 was the wettest year in 35 years and the third wettest since precipitation records began in 1895.

While last year was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years would be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking.

"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt - in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change", Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said.

Since record keeping began in the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen around 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

In 2015, nearly 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures between 1.5C to 2C, to avert "dangerous" man-made climate change.

Last December was the second-warmest December in the 139 years that records have been kept.

CNN notes that the past three years have each set a record for the number of natural disasters hitting the U.S. that caused more than $1 billion in damage.

NOAA and NASA contribute data to the WMO.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming.

Global average temperature anomaly map, showing that there are far more warm-than-normal than colder-than-normal regions on the planet.

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

The warming is driven largely by the continued emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by human activity, such as manufacturing, coal-fired power plant emissions, and deforestation.

NASA's data takes temperatures from 6,300 weather stations along with ship and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures along with measurements from Antarctic research stations.

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