Earth continues to warm
Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018's #temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.
‘2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long- erm global warming trend,’ said GISS director Gavin Schmidt.
Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). 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.
Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming.
Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, where 2018 saw the continued loss of sea ice. In addition, mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets continued to contribute to sea level rise. Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events, according to Gavin.
‘The impacts of long term global warming are already being felt – in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,’ he said.
NASA’s temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6300 weather stations, ship and buoy based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.