(Gray News) – Earth’s warming trend continues.
Surface temperatures on the planet in 2018 were the fourth hottest since 1880. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) crunched the numbers.
“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said Gavin Schmidt, the director at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change.”
NASA collected surface temperature measurements from 6,300 sites around the world.
Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees warmer than the 1951 to 1980 average, according to GISS.
The temperatures for 2018 only rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are the warmest years since records have been kept.
This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities, Schmidt said.
The strongest warming trends were in the Arctic region in 2018, which continued to contribute to a rise in the sea level.
The higher temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events.
But the warming isn’t equal everywhere.
In the contiguous United States (lower 48), it was the 14th warmest year on record.