NOAA says 2018 was 4th warmest year on record, in an undeniable global warming trend

2018 was the fourth warmest year ever recorded on planet Earth, NOAA reported today.

“Earth’s long-term warming trend continued in 2018 as persistent warmth across large swaths of land and ocean resulted in the globe’s fourth hottest year in NOAA’s 139-year climate record,” NOAA said.

2018 ranks just behind 2016 (the absolute warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest).

“In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization also reached the same heat ranking.”

NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a scientific agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

Here are a few highlights from NOAA’s findings:

• The average global temperature during 2018 was 1.42 degrees F above the 20th-century average. This marks the 42nd consecutive year (since 1977) with an above-average global temperature. Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest.

• The globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19 degrees F above average, while the land surface temperature was 2.02 degrees above average, both the fourth highest on record.

• Much of Europe, New Zealand and parts of the Middle East and Russia had record high land temperatures. Parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and parts of the north and south Atlantic Ocean also tallied record-high sea-surface temperatures.

• In 2018, the U.S. experienced 14 weather and climate disasters, each with losses exceeding $1 billion and all totaling around $91 billion in damages. Both the number of events and their cumulative cost ranked fourth highest since records began in 1980.

• Topping the list were Hurricane Michael, which caused $25 billion in damages, followed by the western U.S. wildfires and Hurricane Florence, which each caused $24 billion in damages.

• Most important was the human toll: At least 247 people died and many more were injured by the 14 disasters.

READ MORE > Access NOAA’s full reports on the 2018 global climate analysis, and the U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.

Also, don't miss this great coverage of the NOAA report at the New York Times, with analysis by John Schwartz.

The United States experienced 14 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2018, which resulted in the deaths of at least 247 people and approximately $91 billion in damage. (NOAA NCEI)