Paris: The last four years were the hottest since global temperature records began, the United Nations confirmed on Wednesday in an analysis that it said was a "clear sign of continuing long-term climate change".
The Earth experienced its fourth-hottest year in more than 136 years in 2018.
The world temperature in 2018 was the fourth hottest ever recorded, only next to 2016 (the warmest), 2015 and 2017, say the specialists of the National Administration of Aeronautics and Space (NASA).
Last year's average global surface temperature was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, according to NOAA.
NASA and NOAA climate scientists said even though 2018 was a tad cooler than the three previous years that's mostly due to random weather variations.
An iceberg melts in the waters off Antarctica.
The year just past also saw 14 weather and climate related disasters with losses of $1 billion or more, which totaled about $91 billion in damages.
Americans escaped the worst of it last year though; while the rest of the planet cooked, the US experienced only its 14th-warmest year.
NOAA and NASA each analyze temperature measurements from thousands of sites around the world, including weather stations on land and ships and buoys spread across the world's oceans.
Patrick Verkooijen, head of the Global Centre on Adaptation in the Netherlands, told Reuters that the WMO report showed "climate change is not a distant phenomenon but is here right now". The quickly rising temperatures over the past two decades cap a much longer warming trend documented by researchers and correspond with the scientific consensus that climate change is caused by human activity.
A 2018 NOAA map shows where average temperatures were higher than usual. Icy cold weather across the Midwest and Eastern U.S. last week prompted Trump to tweet a plea to global warming: "Please come back fast, we need you!"
It was also an expensive year for natural disasters.
"If there was no warming of average temperatures, there would be about an even chance of a daily record high maximum or daily record low minimum occurring", said Meehl, who was not involved in the report.
But the US did get soaked in 2018, says Deke Arndt, a climate scientist with NOAA. That would be warmer than the last four years.
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