New Climate Reports Released
According to recent reports, earth experienced its fourth warmest year on record in 2018, as first reported by the Palm Beach Daily News. This new statistic confirms an emerging and alarming trend—the last five years have been the hottest since measurements began more than 100 years ago.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA released annual climate reports on Wednesday. These reports showed 2018’s worldwide average temperature to be 1.42 degrees above the 20th century average. This number places the year in fourth place for warmest ever, after top-ranked 2016, runner-up 2015, and 2017, which was the third warmest.
Meteorologist Sean Sublette with Climate Central expressed his concern about the consecutive years of above-average temperatures.
“For people studying this a long time, there is a very serious concern, some people would say dangerous,” Sublette said. “Global records go back to 1880 and the top five hottest years have been the last five. That didn’t happen by chance.”
2018 was not included in the top 10 warmest years for the contiguous U.S., ranking 14th warmest. However, scientists said that it was significant in that it made 2018 the 22nd consecutive year that ended warmer than average.
Florida’s average temperature in 2018 was 72.3 degrees, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center at the University of North Carolina. This makes 2018 the sixth warmest year in records going back to 1894. West Palm Beach’s average temperature in 2018 was 76.2 degrees, tying the 16th warmest year on record.
New Climate Reports Released
“The key message is the planet is warming and the long-term trends are extremely robust, there is no other way to slice it,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “The understanding of why those trends are occurring is also very robust, because of the greenhouse gases we’ve put into the atmosphere over the past 100 years.”
Because of the recent government shutdown, the release of some of NOAA’s reports was delayed. Because of this, the annual climate data came out that same day as the climate and weather disaster reports.
In 2018, 14 natural disasters that exceeded $1 billion in losses and killed at least 247 people hit the U.S. This places the year in fourth place for total number of billion-dollar events and for total costs
Hurricane Michael, which slammed into Florida’s panhandle in October as a high-end Category 4 storm, had an estimated loss of $25 billion.
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NOAA and NASA researches were hesitant to tie 2018’s natural disasters to climate change, but did say that the world is seeing more extreme rain and heat events because of a warmer planet.
“In general, you don’t want to say that climate change caused something specific, but it enhances or worsens what would occur naturally,” Sublette said. “That means more detrimental impacts on humans; worse flooding, worse droughts, larger wildfires.”