2018 Was The Fourth-Hottest Year On Record And The Trend Is Set To Continue

Four of the last five years have been the warmest since records began. Here, higher than normal temperatures are shown in red. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

If the health and wellbeing of the world aren’t enough motivation, NOAA’s analysis reveals in the US 2018 ranked fourth-highest on record for both number of weather and climate-related disasters and price (behind 2017, 2011, and 2016), with 14 disasters breaching $1 billion. In the past three years, the average number of billion-dollar disasters is more than double the long-term average.

The overwhelming evidence that the world is experiencing a long-term warming trend should make it a top priority for the world’s leaders, particularly, the MET Office's findings warn, as the trend is set to continue, potentially making the decade from 2014-2023 the warmest in 150 years, breaking some new records along the way.

“Predictions now suggest around a 10 percent chance of at least one year between 2019 and 2023 temporarily exceeding 1.5°C,” Dr Doug Smith of the Met Office said.

The data is rather hard to argue with. NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens


However, this does not mean that we will have exceeded the 1.5°C (2.7°F) threshold the recent IPCC climate report warned is the new now-or-never, and that all hope is lost.

“Exceeding 1.5°C in one specific year does not mean that we have missed the 1.5°C target, but it does ring an alarm bell telling us that we are getting very close,” Dr Joeri Rogelj, Lecturer in Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London, explained. “In a similar way, if a few colder years would be projected this does not mean that warming has halted and that we can emit much more greenhouse gases. The noise in the annual temperatures should not distract from the long-term trend."

The message is clear: we can see what's coming and we need to act now. If you are feeling overwhelmed and questioning what difference you as an individual can make, remember, the world needs to be on the same page, and that means its leaders working together, and that is something you can influence. 

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