Last 4 years hottest on record,says UN

The last five years have been the hottest on record.                  NASA screenshot by CNET

The last five years have been the hottest on record. NASA screenshot by CNET

While Australia just suffered through it's hottest January on record, around the world things aren't much better.

"The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years", Mr Taalas said.

Last year, the United States alone suffered 14 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, led by hurricanes and wildfires, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

Earth's long-term warming trend continued in 2018 as persistent warmth across large swaths of land and ocean resulted in the globe's fourth hottest year in NOAA's 139-year climate record.

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.

In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organizationoffsite link also reached the same heat ranking.

"Over the next five years there is a one in 10 chance of one of those years breaking the (1.5C) threshold", Professor Adam Scaife of the Met Office told Reuters of the agency's medium-term forecasts.

"That is not saying the Paris Agreement is done for. but it's a worrying sign", he added. The United Nations defines the 1.5 degrees Celsius Paris temperature target as a 30-year average, not a freak blip in a single year.

NOAA said the average temperature for the contiguous U.S.in 2018 was 53.5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a warmer-than-average year for the 22nd year in a row.

In 2015, nearly 200 governments adopted the Paris climate agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels and limit the rise in temperatures between 1.5C to 2C, to avert "dangerous" man-made climate change.

The report also noted that warming is being felt most in the Arctic, where sea ice continues to melt, raising the sea level. He did not mention climate change in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

He called for more, greener investments, ranging from defenses against rising seas to drought-resistant crops.

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