NASA says 2019 was the second warmest year ever recorded

EnlargeNOAA

"In the future we easily can expect warmer El Ninos than the previous ones", WMO scientist Omar Baddour said. At this point in time, the only hotter year on record is 2016, meaning the last half-decade has officially been the warmest in 140 years.

Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science produce one of the global data sets, known as HadCRUT4.

NASA's temperature analyses incorporate surface temperature measurements from more than 20,000 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

The findings by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the US Department of Commerce show that ocean heat content contributing to sea-level rise is higher than ever, with the Earth's warming unabated. CO2 levels haven't been this high in at least 800,000 years - though more likely millions of years.

According to NOAA, the past five years have been the hottest five ever, nearly 1.7 degrees (0.9 C) warmer than the average in the 20th century.

The five warmest years measured were 2016 (the hottest), 2019, 2015, 2017 and 2018, NOAA said.

"Each decade from the 1980s has been successively warmer than all the decades that came before".

A separate analysis from the nonprofit Berkeley Earth found that 2019 was the second warmest year on Earth since 1850.

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And scientists say there is no doubt at all this is man-made climate change. "We are confident that the world has warmed by about 1 °C since the late nineteenth century because different methods of working out the global temperature give very similar results".

The Geneva-based WMO combined several datasets, including two from the USA space administration NASA and the UK Met Office.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia - where wildfires have been raging amid record temperatures - also recently confirmed that 2019 was the warmest and driest year on record for the country.

The World Meteorological Organization, which based its findings on analysis of leading worldwide datasets, said increases in global temperatures had already had dire consequences, pointing to "retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather".

A United Nations climate agency says 2019 was the second hottest year on record.

"Unfortunately, we expect to see much extreme weather throughout 2020 and the coming decades, fueled by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere", Taalas said.

That's according to a joint report Wednesday from NASA and the NOAA, which stressed that greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, power plants, and other human activity are the primary cause. The effects of human-induced climate change are not limited to surface temperature.

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