Last year was fourth hottest on record: outlook sizzling

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp fire consume a home in Magalia California in November 2018

The past five years have been the warmest years since records began in the late 1800s, according to NASA and NOAA.

The past five years have been the warmest in the modern record, the report said, and 2018's global temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.83 degrees Celsius, above the mean temperatures for 1951-1980.

Globally, 2018's temperatures ranked behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The NOAA study, which uses a different methodology, agreed. This warming has been driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere - caused by human activities. "The global average temperature between now and 2023 is predicted to remain high, potentially making the decade from 2014 the warmest in more than 150 years of records". "It's here. It's now", Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA group that conducted the analysis, told the New York Times.

Moreover, 2015 was the first year when global annual average surface temperatures reached 1C above pre-industrial levels, and the following three years have all remained close to this level.

NASA does point out that weather dynamics affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth saw similar amounts of warming.

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Scientists found that the Arctic has experienced the most warming, contributing to global sea level rise.

The British Met Office, which also contributes data to the WMO, said temperatures could rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial times, for instance if a natural El Nino weather event adds a burst of heat.

"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt - in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change", says Schmidt.

Nasa's data was compiled by 6,300 weather stations around the world and was compared against information stretching back to 1880.

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