While 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking. The last five years rank as the hottest on record globally-far and away hotter than previous years with temperatures running roughly 1 degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. The past five years, collectively, were the warmest years in the modern record, according to the report.
Last year, the Earth was more than one degree Celsius higher (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) than the average temperature of the latter part of the 19th century.
Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). "There's no question." And the cause is clear too, he adds: "It's because of the increases in the greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere over the last 100 years". In addition, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continued to contribute to sea level rise, and increased temperatures contributed to longer and more intense fire seasons, ranging from California to Australia.
"2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend", Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS, said in a statement. With global emissions rising for the second year in a row, this disastrous trend shows no signs of changing any time soon.
"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 NOAA analysis found the 2018 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was only the 14th warmest on record; in other places, it was much hotter.
The World Meteorological Organization announced similar findings Wednesday.
The 2018 global temperature reports were originally scheduled for release in mid-January, but they were delayed because the 35-day partial government shutdown prevented government scientists from finalizing their calculations. According to NASA and NOAA, there were a total of 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events in the U.S.in 2018 alone, costing the nation $91 billion in direct economic damages and resulting in 247 deaths.