A new annual report conducted by NASA and NOAA reveals that 2018 was the fourth-hottest year recorded, while the other four in the top five have occurred in the previous five years. The two agencies fear that future years may become even warmer, suggesting that human-driven climate change is beginning to take its toll on our planet.
What is even more dreadful is that 2018 broke a couple of records. Unfortunately, they are not good records for the well-being of the planet.
Scientists found that 2018 was the fourth-hottest year recorded since 1880, which was when scientists started to gather temperatures from around the globe. Scientists also found that 2018 was the wettest year in the last 35 years for the U.S., moreover, it was the third wettest year as compared to the records which began in 1895, hinting at flooding caused by raging storms and the sea level becoming higher year by year.
Although initially delayed by the government shutdown, NASA and NOAA successfully released the Annual Global Analysis for 2018, supported by other reports from around the world, including the Met Office in the UK, the World Meteorological Organization, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, and the United Nations. These agencies and NASA and NOAA’s report should be more than sufficient in convincing us that with last year being the fourth-hottest year recorded, things are not going too well on our planet and we must prevent it from getting worse before it’s too late.
Last year’s record ranks behind those of 2016, 2015 and 2017. The measurements show that global temperatures grew 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer compared to the period between 1951 and 1980. That said, the last five years have been the warmest in the modern record, while also being in the 10 warmest years since 2005.
NOAA’s analysis also shows that in the U.S., last year ranked as the fourth year on record of the highest number of climate-related disasters and cost. There were 14 disasters which cost $91 billion in total. Another proof that last year was the fourth-hottest year recorded was by the MET Office findings. The research warns that it is going to continue growing, estimating that the period between 2014 and 2023 will be the hottest compared to the last 150 years. This dreadful prediction is also set to break a lot of records.
“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.
“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, said. “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.”
These numbers are quite scary, and if we, as humanity, don’t take action, it’s only going to get worse. Recent studies have shown that Arctic and Antarctic glaciers are melting and collapsing, causing higher sea levels which can compromise the coastal communities around the world. Additionally, another study found that these changes cause waves to grow stronger.
Lastly, warmer temperature on the surface also means warmer temperature in the water, causing harm to marine communities, acidifying the water, as well as coral bleaching which causes large coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef to decline. Being home to a diverse ecosystem of living creatures, if the Great Barrier Reef continues being harmed, many animals may need to search for a new home in the ocean.