The hottest half-decade on record has just passed, with 2019 finishing as the second hottest year too, according to the 2019 global climate report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Record-high land temperatures were recorded in Australia and New Zealand, parts of central Europe, Asia, southern Africa, North America and eastern South America. Additionally, record-high ocean temperatures were measured in all four oceans.
The fact is that the planet is warming, and every year, we add one extra data point to this graph.
According to data collected by NOAA, the average temperature in 2019 was 0.95 °C (1.71 °F) above average and 0.04 degrees Celsius (0.07 degrees Fahrenheit) less than the record set in 2016. 2016 was the hottest year since records began in 1880, with a temperature rise of 0.99 °C (1.78 °F) above-average temperatures.
“I would say, notwithstanding some sort of major, major geophysical event, it would be almost certain that the [coming] decade will be warmer than the previous,” Deke Arndt, head of the monitoring branch at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, told NPR.
Overall, land and ocean temperatures have been above average for the past 43 years and nine of the 10 warmest years on record have come since 2005.
“The fact is that the planet is warming, and every year, we add one extra data point to this graph,” the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt, told NPR. “[However,] the main thing here is not really the ranking but is the consistency of the long-term trends that we’re seeing.”
In a historical context, 2019 global land and sea temperatures were 1.15 °C (2.07 °F) above the average of the 21-year span from 1880 to 1900 – which is often considered a surrogate for pre-industrial conditions.See Also: How Climate Change Has Impacted the 2019 Harvest
Since 1981, one century after temperatures began being recorded, the average rate of temperature increase per decade has more than doubled, rising from +0.07 °C (+0.13 °F) to +0.18 degrees (+0.32 °F).
In the past year, the global land surface temperature was 1.42 degrees Celsius (2.56 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average, tying with 2015 as the second highest.
Meanwhile, the global sea surface temperature also came in second place in 2019 with a temperature that was 0.77 °C (1.39 °F) higher than the 20th-century average.
NOAA’s analysis of global temperature data for 2019 is in line with those measured by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), NASA and Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth Observation Program, all of which concluded that 2019 was the second-hottest year on record.
“The warming up until now since the 1970s has been quite close to linear,” Schmidt said. “You’d imagine we’d cross 1.5 [degrees Celsius] in around 2035. But of course, that depends on what we do with emissions, and we’re not able to tell you looking at the past how society will react.”
Adopted in 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change has set the goal to limit the rise in global temperatures to below 2 °C (3.6 °F) by 2030 and ideally to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).