2018 was fourth warmest year on record says NASA

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New data confirms last year was one of the hottest ever recorded, and British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be even hotter than 2018.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reporting that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record since 1880.

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.

Global temperatures now stand 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, above the average temperature of the late 19th century.

Global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 C warmer than the average temperature between 1951 to 1980, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NY.

According to figures released by specialists running the world's leading temperature datasets confirmed previous estimates that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record.

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Weather dynamics mean warming affects regions in different ways. The WMO also said that the 20 warmest years in history all occurred within the last 22 years.

NBC reported that the polar regions experienced the strongest warm trends, resulting in the melting and shrinkage of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as the continued loss of sea ice in the Arctic.

Increasing temperatures can "contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events", Nasa also warned. "This is the reality we need to face up to", Taalas said.

"This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities", NASA said in a statement.

To combat warming, nearly 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times while "pursuing efforts" for 1.5C (2.7F).

NASA's global temperature analyses use surface temperature recordings from 6,300 weather stations around the world, incorporating ship- and buoy-based measurements of ocean surface temperatures as well as measurements of surface temperatures from Antarctic research outposts.