We Just Experienced the Hottest Four Years in Earth's Recent History

2017 was among the planet's hottest years on record, government scientists report

"It's unlikely we'll ever see temperatures as cool as we had back before 2014 again", said Hausfather, who commented on the NASA and NOAA numbers and also released his own group's temperature record Thursday.

Meanwhile, NOAA researchers' assessment placed 2017 as the third warmest year, reporting global average temperatures as 1.51 degrees F (0.84 degrees C) above average.

The warmest ever non-El Nino year was 2017, which was hotter than 2015 by less than one hundredth of a degree.

Global surface temperatures past year were the second hottest since 1880, according to an analysis by scientists with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Consolidated data from five leading global weather agencies shows that "2015, 2016 and 2017 have been confirmed as the three warmest years on record", the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said. A warming El Nino event was in effect for most of 2015 and the first four months of 2016.

Earth's long-term warming trend continued in 2017, with the average surface temperature only slightly below the record heat of the two previous years, according to United States government scientists.

Data from both agencies show that the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010.

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Describing the accelerating pace of climate change as "an existential threat to the planet", the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Robert Glasser, said, "A three-year streak of record hot years, each above 1° Celsius, combined with record-breaking economic losses from disasters in 2017 should tell us all that we are facing an existential threat to the planet which requires a drastic response". The NOAA report, using different methods, said 2017 was the third-warmest.

"We are getting dangerously close to the limit of the 2°C temperature rise set out in the Paris Agreement and the desired goal of 1.5° will be even more hard to maintain under present levels of greenhouse gas emissions", he underscored.

NOAA, NASA, and Berkeley Earth track temperatures at the surface of the Earth, over both land and oceans.

Earth's average surface temperature has risen by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, NASA said, though weather dynamics mean not all regions around the globe were equally warmed.

"Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we've seen in the last 40 years", Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute, said in a written statement.

But US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord has rattled the global community and complicated efforts at forging joint action - even though many US state governments insist they remain committed to cut emissions.



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