2018 was the fourth warmest year on record

2018 was one of the hottest years on record — and this year could be even hotter

2018 Fourth Hottest Year On Record, Says NASA

The US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that last year's average temperature was 14.69°C, which is 0.79°C warmer than the 20th-century average. Normally, the yearly NASA and NOAA announcements come out around the same time as the others', but this year's reports were delayed due to the partial US government shutdown.

The warmest year was 2016, followed by 2017, 2015, 2018 and 2014, according to NASA's rankings.

The New York Times reports that NASA scientists from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies revealed on Wednesday that 2018 was one of the five warmest years in recorded history. This, according to scientists, is a result of the continuing warming trend caused by the excess emission of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

The obvious long-term trend of steady warming makes it easier to more accurately predict near future warming, NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said.

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"The five warmest years have, in fact, been the last five years".

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Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region experienced the same degree 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.

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This line plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2018, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK).

"Many of the extreme weather events are consistent with what we expect from a changing climate", he said. Record levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, trap ever more heat.

Also in 2018, the United States suffered 14 weather and climate disasters with costs surpassing $1 billion during a warmer- and wetter-than-average year, NOAA reports.

"Despite the recent cold snap across the Midwest and East Coast, the planet is still heating up, and the warming is unprecedented. These included the bad wildfires in California and the devastating hurricanes Florence and Michael, all of which bear the fingerprints of climate change".

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