The last five years were the hottest ever, NASA and NOAA declare

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(WASHINGTON D.C.)- previous year was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Global air temperatures have warmed steadily over past decades, shifting up and down slightly from year to year depending on natural climate oscillations like El Niño, but following a consistent upward path. The year ranked just behind 2016, the warmest year ever, 2015, which was the second warmest, and 2017, the third warmest. NOAA's analysis found 2018 global temperatures were 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit (0.79 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. While most people associate climate change with rising sea levels and melting glaciers, the effects of global warming are more profound than most realize.

An iceberg melts in the waters off Antarctica.

There were 14 weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion, for a total of $91 billion, Arndt said. Much of Europe had its warmest years on record.

The records also show that the annual temperature of the Old Continent increased at an average rate of 0.12 Celsius degrees per decade since 1910, although it has nearly quadrupled to 0.43 Celsius since 1981. Higher than normal temperatures are shown in red.

NASA and NOAA independently monitor the Earth's surface temperatures and changes based on observations of both land areas and oceans, using a network of satellites scattered in Earth orbit.

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The human toll also was high, with 247 killed and many more injured in weather and climate disasters.

"If there was no warming of average temperatures, there would be about an even chance of a daily record high maximum or daily record low minimum occurring", said Meehl, who was not involved in the report. The World Meteorological Organization? and the United Kingdom's Met Office? also found that 2018 was among the top four warmest years. It warned that intense heatwaves "are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change".

Government shutdowns can delay the collection and timely release of important scientific information, as was the case with the information released today.

Dr. Schmidt spoke of these markers not as cliffs that the world would plunge over, however, but part of a continuing slide toward increasing levels of harm.