A polar bear tests the strength of thinning ice in the Arctic Credit AFP
08 February, 2019, 21:42
Global temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since records began in 1880, United States government scientists have confirmed.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reporting that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record since 1880.
The average global surface temperatures have risen about two degrees Fahrenheit since the 1880s.
The records also show that the annual temperature of the Old Continent increased at an average rate of 0.12 Celsius degrees per decade since 1910, although it has nearly quadrupled to 0.43 Celsius since 1981.
That warming is driven by the amount of greenhouse gases humans have introduced into the atmosphere, particularly in the least 100 years, Schmidt said. Greenland ice sheets continue to suffer mass loss, which together with similar ice sheet loss in Antarctica, contributed to sea level rise.
The results of this rapid warming can be seen from the heat waves in Australia and extended droughts to coastal flooding in the United States, in disappearing Arctic ice and shrinking glaciers. The world needs to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by the 2030s to avoid breaching limits set out in the Paris climate agreement, the United Nations warned previous year, at a time when global emissions show no sign of decline. An Expensive Year Of Disasters On Wednesday, NOAA also issued their own analysis of the economic impact of global warming.
A 2018 NOAA map shows where average temperatures were higher than usual.
Global warming is also increasingly evident in local measurements, where daily records for high temperatures are toppling more than twice as often as daily records for low temperatures, said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
The secretary general added that numerous extreme weather events are "consistent with what we expect from a changing climate".
"Over the next five years there is a one-in-10 chance of one of those years breaking the [1.5C] threshold", Professor Adam Scaife of the Met Office told Reuters of the agency's medium-term forecasts. These calculations produce the global average temperature deviations from the baseline period of 1951 to 1980. That's 1.42 degrees (0.79 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average. "We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future", said Schmidt.
NASA and NOAA climate scientists said that even though last year was a tad cooler than the three previous years, that was mostly due to random weather variations.
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