Earth could be headed for warmest period on record
New data confirms last year was one of the warmest ever recorded, and British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be even hotter than 2018.
The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said 2018’s average global temperature was 58.42 degrees Fahrenheit, or 14.69 Celsius. That’s 1.42 degrees (0.79 Celsius) warmer than the 20th century average.
The latest figures mean 2018 ranks as the fourth-hottest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2005.
NOAA said the average temperature for the contiguous U.S. in 2018 was 53.5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a warmer-than-average year for the 22nd year in a row.
The United Kingdom Met Office, the U.K.’s weather service, said global temperatures over the next five years will average somewhere between 58.51 and 59.49 degrees Fahrenheit, or 14.73 to 15.27 Celsius. That would be warmer than the last four years.
“2015 was the first year that global annual average surface temperatures reached 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels and the following three years have all remained close to this level,” Adam Scaife, head of Long-Range Prediction at the Met Office, said Wednesday in a news release. “The global average temperature between now and 2023 is predicted to remain high, potentially making the decade from 2014 the warmest in more than 150 years of records.”
The British office along with NOAA, NASA and the World Meteorological Organization analyze global temperatures in slightly different ways, but they all came to the same conclusion Wednesday: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record behind 2016, 2015 and 2017.