Fourth Hottest Year in Earth’s Recorded History - Climate Report

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Global temperatures rose 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) than the mean of warming from 1951 to 1980.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a 2018 climate assessment Wednesday, and the temperatures continue to climb.

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

According to a study from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, last year saw the Earth's fourth-highest global surface temperatures when compared to almost 138 years of records.

"2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend", said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.

In order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, global temperatures cannot exceed more than two degrees Celsius. Past year saw a pair of devastating hurricanes hit the eastern U.S., while record wildfires ravaged California. Additionally, parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and sections of the north and south Atlantic Ocean also saw record high sea-surface temperatures. South Dakota and Nebraska were the only two states to record temperatures below the 20th century average, the first time since 2014 any state experienced cooler years.

Last December was the second-warmest December in the 139 years that records have been kept. Research scientists say increasing temperatures could lead to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events.

Due to the dynamic character of global weather patterns, not every place of the Earth experiences the same levels of warming.

"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.

In January, the same organization warned that levels of planet-warming carbon dioxide will rise by a near-record amount in 2019.

It appears highly likely, at least from today's perspective, that that line will be crossed, despite the fact that more than 190 countries have signed the Paris climate agreement, which sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "These included the bad wildfires in California and the devastating hurricanes Florence and Michael, all of which bear the fingerprints of climate change".