Last year was the fourth warmest on record and the outlook is for more sizzling heat approaching levels that most governments view as dangerous for the Earth, a U.N. report showed on Wednesday.
Average global surface temperatures were 1.0 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times in 2018, the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said, based on data from U.S., British, Japanese and European weather agencies. “The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
“The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt – in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Weather extremes in 2018 included wildfires in California and Greece, drought in South Africa and floods in Kerala, India.
Last year, the United States alone suffered 14 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, led by hurricanes and wildfires, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.