This article discusses the fact that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record.
NASA scientists announced Wednesday that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth highest in nearly 140 years of record-keeping and a continuation of an unmistakable warming trend.
The data means that the five warmest years in recorded history have been the last five, and that 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2001. The quickly rising temperatures over the past two decades cap a much longer warming trend documented by researchers and correspond with the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
“We’re no longer talking about a situation where global warming is something in the future,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the NASA group that conducted the analysis. “It’s here. It’s now.”
The publication of the NASA temperature data came in tandem with a similar announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which uses a slightly different methodology to determine overall changes in the planet’s temperature but also ranked 2018 as the fourth warmest year.