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The numbers are in from both science agencies that keep climate records, and it was another hot one in 2018 — the fourth warmest average annual global temperature in history. It comes in fourth only to the three years that preceded it — 2015, 2016, and 2017, in that order, according to both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA data. The final temperature statistics were compiled and confirmed this week independently by the two agencies (the results were delayed due to the government shutdown) — and are based on records going back for 140 years of official record-keeping.
The anecdotal evidence of the year’s warmth was evidenced, according to NASA’s climate experts, by such events as the heat wave in Australia, the fires and droughts and flooding rains in the U.S., the disappearing Arctic and Antarctic ice and shrinking glaciers.
A third scientific model, the C3S from Europe. came out with the same result but was also able to pinpoint that the Arctic saw the most unusual warmth in 2018, particularly north of the Bering Strait between U.S. and Russia.
It was only the 14th warmest year but it was the third wettest on average for the United States due to very wet conditions in the mid-Atlantic and wetter than normal all across the Eastern U.S., according to NOAA. But the Western U.S. continued to be dryer or much dryer than average since records began in 1895, with severe drought conditions present across most of the Southwestern U.S.
There were 14 weather-related billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. in 2018 resulting in a total of more than $91 billion in direct losses, the fourth largest on record, including Hurricane Michael at $25B, Hurricane Florence at $24B, and Western wildfires at $24B.
Why This Matters: According to the consensus of global climate scientists, the key number for global warming is to limit our average temperature increase 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst impacts. We are already halfway there, and most now believe we will go above the Paris target level of warming — that we will not be able to do enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is another alarm bell being sounded. The question is do we have the political will to take the kind of actions needed to avoid going too much above 2 degrees?
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer There’s been a three-fold increase in climate targets by Fortune Global 500 companies over the past three years, but more than 60% still don’t have any commitments on the books. That’s according to numbers from Natural Capital Partners, who led a discussion with leaders from some of the companies […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Just a month and a half after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported a “code red” for the world to combat climate, the UN announced on Friday that recent climate action plans submitted by 191 countries won’t come close to limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees […]
This week is Climate Week NYC, an annual event hosted by The Climate Group and the United Nations, in partnership with the COP26 and the City of New York. For one week, from September 20-26, experts will be hosting panels and conversations about all things climate, and you can follow along at home via Facebook […]
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