Last year was the fourth-hottest on record, and the last five years have been the hottest in recorded history, new figures have revealed.
A UN report warned of a dangerous warming trend – which last year drove extreme weather such as heatwaves, droughts and floods.
In 2018, 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.
The last 5 years have been the hottest in the modern record 🌡️This means that fire seasons are burning longer 🔥& melting sea ice is raising sea levels 🌊 @NASAGISS @NOAA scientists acquire their data from 6,300 weather stations & ships. Stay safe: https://t.co/cFbRjYgAhW pic.twitter.com/RLMdiXTknD
— NASA (@NASA) February 7, 2019
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said, ‘The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one.
‘The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years.’
To combat warming, almost 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement in 2015 to phase out the use of fossil fuels – but President Trump has signalled that America will withdrawn from teh agreement.
The British Met Office 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.
Professor Adam Scaife of the Met Office said, ‘Over the next five years there is a one in 10 chance of one of those years breaking the (1.5C) threshold.
‘That is not saying the Paris Agreement is done for … but it’s a worrying sign.’
The United Nations defines the 1.5C Paris temperature target as a 30-year average, not a freak blip in a single year.