The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, along with the space agency NASA, released a report on Wednesday on last year's temperature data from around the world. The last five years rank as the hottest on record globally-far and away hotter than previous years with temperatures running roughly 1 degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. 2016 now ranks as the hottest year on record, with 2017 coming in second and 2015 third.
The new report said the world was on track to have average global temperatures rise to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, as record levels of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, is trapping more heat in the Earth's atmosphere. Such cold weather has made it really hard for many to believe that global warming is real.
An iceberg melts in the waters off Antarctica.
"The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years", Mr Taalas said.
Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).
"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt - in coastal flooding, heatwaves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change", said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
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In both data sets, the overall trend of global temperatures is rising.
NASA's temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.
A 2018 NOAA map shows where average temperatures were higher than usual.
It was also an expensive year for natural disasters. But in the contiguous 48 states, 2018 marked the 14th warmest on record. The World Meteorological Organization? and the United Kingdom's Met Office? also found that 2018 was among the top four warmest years. According to NASA and NOAA, there were a total of 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events in the U.S.in 2018 alone, costing the nation $91 billion in direct economic damages and resulting in 247 deaths.
In fact, 2018 was the wettest year in the last 35 years.
Government shutdowns can delay the collection and timely release of important scientific information, as was the case with the information released today.