All five of the hottest years on record have occurred in the last five years, according to global temperature data released Wednesday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 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 warmest year was 2016, followed by 2017, 2015, 2018 and 2014, according to NASA's rankings. The past five years, collectively, were the warmest years in the modern record, according to the report.
The report shows the global average temperature was 14.69 degrees Celsius, or 0.79 degrees above the average for the 20th century. "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".
"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt - in coastal flooding, heatwaves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change", said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. It was the fourth highest since 1880, the earliest year for which records are available.
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Patrick Verkooijen, head of the Global Centre on Adaptation in the Netherlands, told Reuters that the WMO report showed "climate change is not a distant phenomenon but is here right now".
The human toll also was high, with 247 killed and many more injured in weather and climate disasters. The UN body also said that 2019 had picked up where 2018 left off, with Australia experiencing its warmest January on record. The government's climate assessment lists all the natural disasters that incurred at least $1 billion in losses.
Trump has vowed to pull out of the 2015 Paris agreement forged by almost 200 countries, including the U.S. The pact sets a goal of keeping global warming "well below" 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial levels, a threshold meant to avert the most devastating and irreversible effects of climate change.
Weather extremes last year included wildfires in California and Greece, drought in South Africa, floods in India, while the new year saw Queensland and Tasmania threatened by record-breaking floods and bushfires. The release of the NASA/NOAA report was delayed by the United States government shutdown.