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.
year ranks just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third
separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United
Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization also reached the
same heat ranking.
are a few highlights from NOAA’s findings:
The average global temperature during 2018 was 1.42 degrees F above the
20th-century average. This marks the 42nd consecutive year (since 1977) with an
above-average global temperature. Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred
since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest.
The globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19 degrees F above average,
while the land surface temperature was 2.02 degrees above average, both the
fourth highest on record.
Much of Europe, New Zealand and parts of the Middle East and Russia had record
high land temperatures. Parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and parts of the
north and south Atlantic Ocean also tallied record-high sea-surface
In 2018, the U.S. experienced 14 weather and climate disasters, each with
losses exceeding $1 billion and all totaling around $91 billion in damages. Both
the number of events and their cumulative cost ranked fourth highest since
records began in 1980. For more details go to https://www.noaa.gov/news/2018-was-4th-hottest-year-on-record-for-globe
Topping the list were Hurricane Michael, which caused $25 billion in damages,
followed by the western U.S. wildfires and Hurricane Florence, which each
caused $24 billion in damages.
Most important was the human toll: At least 247 people died and many more were
injured by the 14 disasters.
In the U.S., last year’s weather story was more about wetness than heat.
Precipitation for the contiguous U.S. averaged 34.63 inches (4.69 inches above
average), the third wettest year in the 124-year record.
Much-above-average precipitation to record-high precipitation fell across much
of the contiguous U.S. east of the Rockies.
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 53.5 degrees F (1.5 degrees
above average), making 2018 the 14th warmest year on record. This was the 22nd
consecutive warmer-than-average year for the U.S.
Much of the contiguous U.S. was warmer than average, particularly west of the
Rockies and across the coastal Southeast. Most of the Northern Plains and Upper
Midwest experienced near-normal temperatures.