NOAA's report showed that a long-term heating trend continued last year as persistent warmth across large swaths of land and ocean resulted in the fourth hottest year in NOAA's 139-year climate record. That means 2018 was the fourth hottest year recorded in over 100 years. "The trend is going relentlessly up, and it will continue to do so", Potsdam Institute climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf said in an e-mail.
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.
Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA, says the message is clear: "The planet is warming". NASA adds that the melting of Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributed to a rise in sea level. Nationally average precipitation was 34.63 inches, or 4.69 inches above average.
"We're no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future", said Schmidt.
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Each new year may not set a temperature record but the long-term warming "resembles riding up an escalator over time and jumping up and down while on that escalator", said Deke Arndt, chief of NOAA's climate monitoring division, referring to variables such as the El Niño pattern. Previous year saw a pair of devastating hurricanes hit the eastern USA, while record wildfires ravaged California. Meanwhile, only 2.4 percent of the surface was significantly colder than that baseline period.
Yet Trump has dismissed the threat of climate change, including a landmark assessment by 13 federal agencies last fall that found climate change is inflicting increasing damage to the nation's environment, health and economy. Climate scientists say that the higher rainfall is largely due to warming oceans, which cause more evaporation that in turn leads to more rain.
The top three hottest years on record were 2015, 2016, and 2017. Scientists warn that if we're to avoid the worst affects of climate change, we cannot allow the temperature to rise more than 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
"The planet is warming". One reason, they said, is a persistent appetite for oil - including unexpected growth in the United States and Europe, where experts thought its use had already peaked.