2018 was the fourth warmest year on record

Christopher Davidson
February 8, 2019

Global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1951 to 1980, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NY.

As parts of the mid-western United States were gripped by a "polar vortex" last week that saw temperatures plunge to lows of -64 degrees Fahrenheit (-53C), US President Donald Trump suggested that the cold weather front cast doubt over the veracity of climate change data.

If it seems like you've heard this before, you have: Eighteen of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001.

"2015 was the first year that global annual average surface temperatures reached 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels and the following three years have all remained close to this level", Professor Adam Scaife, the UK Met Office's Head of Long-Range Prediction, said in a press release.

2018, it turns out, broke quite a few records, none of them good.

"The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years", Mr Taalas said.

Rowan Sutton, director of science for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) said that will likely mean more heat records in the years to come.

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At 4th warmest, only 2016, 2017, and 2015 have been warmer than 2018, and the past five years, taken together, are the warmest years in the modern temperature record.

Scientists believe that without a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the warming trend will continue and the effects of climate change more severe. Due to slight variations in their data, NASA and Berkeley Earth both have 2010 in 5th place, with 2014 following up in 6th.

This year has also started with scorching temperatures, including Australia's warmest January on record.

The WMO said heightened temperatures also contributed to a number of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and flash flooding.

"That is not saying the Paris Agreement is done for... but it's a worrying sign", he said.

A United Nations report past year said the world is likely to breach 1.5C sometime between 2030 and 2052 on current trends, triggering ever more heatwaves, powerful storms, droughts, mudslides, extinctions and rising sea levels.

He did not mention climate change in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

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