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2019 Was the Second Hottest Year on Record, NASA Says

It's the award no one wanted to win: 2019 was the second hottest year on record, government scientists confirmed yesterday (Jan. 15).

That's according to two separate analyses: one conducted by NASA and one by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each study compared 2019 Earth temperature data with scientists' historical records, which begin in 1880. Of those 140 years, only 2016 was warmer than last year; the analyses also show that the five hottest years on record have been the five years beginning in 2015.

"The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record," Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, said in a statement. "Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before."

Video: Earth's temperature rise from 2015 to 2019
Related:
How NASA Is Using Lasers to Study Climate Change

A graphic produced by NASA shows how 2019 temperatures compare with historical averages.

A graphic produced by NASA shows how 2019 temperatures compare with historical averages. (Image credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Data provided by Robert B. Schmunk (NASA/GSFC GISS))

According to NOAA's temperature report, 2019 was also the 43rd year in a row that saw above-average global land and ocean temperatures. That analysis, like the similar one conducted by NASA, is based on data gathered by more than 20,000 stations around the world.

Temperature increases aren't the only climate upheaval that the federal government's scientists have been tracking. A second NOAA analysis, released on Jan. 8, found that, in the U.S., 2019 was also the second wettest year on record, with only 1973 seeing more precipitation.

The same NOAA report also tallied weather- and climate-related disasters that cost the country $1 billion or more. The U.S. experienced 14 such events in 2019, including wildfires in California, flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, tornadoes in the south, and tropical storm Imelda in Texas and Hurricane Dorian on the Atlantic coast. Those events add to a decade that saw more such expensive disasters — adjusted for inflation — than the previous decade.

The connections between severe-weather events and broader climate changes are complex, but the findings speak to the increasing extremity of weather on Earth. Temperature changes, including average global surface temperature increases, are just one facet of these changes, and the most easily tied to a cause.

"We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit [over 1.1 degrees Celsius] warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back," Schmidt said in the statement. "This shows that what's happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

  • atrigueiro
    When are we REALLY going to do something about it? The science is clear. It's fission or frickin' frackin'!
    Are Environmentalists the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Useful Idiots?
    Reply
  • doyourownresearch
    atrigueiro said:
    When are we REALLY going to do something about it? The science is clear. It's fission or frickin' frackin'!
    Are Environmentalists the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Useful Idiots?


    I hope you realize that 2019 was no way near the warmest year on record. Hopefully this opens some peoples eyes. The propaganda were being fed had become so obvious in recent years. where i live it hasn’t reached 100 degrees in years and the world has been through some heat waves. In the 70’a they pushed global cooling. do your own research. it’s a big fat lie that anyone can see as long as they think for themselves. Don’t take my world for it. do your own research.
    Reply
  • atrigueiro
    I have been gardening in the same state for over four decades. The climate is changing without a doubt. I suggest you read the above link to understand how solutions have been blocked by environmentalists. I am old person and I recall the seventies as well. That is why I wrote this ->

    How Americans Came to Distrust Science.
    https://medium.com/libertarian-socialism-american-style/how-americans-came-to-distrust-science-13dc4009cf36
    Reply
  • Kevin
    Time will Come and this record will also be broken due to the huge amount of destruction and deforestation we are doing in the earth.
    Reply
  • Edward
    Was it really warmer? I did not notice. I welcome additional heat, if there really is any, since it is too cold where I live in southern Canada. This morning I woke to a temperature of -18 C or 0°F for the metric illiterates, and Newfoundland if buried under about 4 feet or more of snow. Sure this is weather not climate but enough weather is climate.

    Why does everybody seem to want to stop the ice from melting. Nothing can live in land covered with ice. Anyway I am sure carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it. We are just not trying hard enough to determine why the earth has gone through great periods of glaciation and then why it recovered, which is what is happening now. If you cannot explain repeated glaciations and past tropical forests in the arctic then blaming O2 is a useless exercise and it is not true.

    Every "scientific" article on any subject will bring up global warming somehow. This is nothing but idiotic, or is it deliberate propaganda to reduce our prosperity, so that the really rich can buy up everything cheaply? AT YOUR EXPENSE TOO.
    Reply
  • Truthseeker007
    doyourownresearch said:
    I hope you realize that 2019 was no way near the warmest year on record. Hopefully this opens some peoples eyes. The propaganda were being fed had become so obvious in recent years. where i live it hasn’t reached 100 degrees in years and the world has been through some heat waves. In the 70’a they pushed global cooling. do your own research. it’s a big fat lie that anyone can see as long as they think for themselves. Don’t take my world for it. do your own research.

    I totally agree but try telling that to these guys.
    https://skepticalscience.com/climate-change-little-ice-age-medieval-warm-period.htm
    It is like a religion to them. I go on this site just to get a good laugh at their propaganda. I tried seeing their point of view but it is just ridiculous. It is obvious they just want their carbon taxes and for you to be taxed on the air you breath out.
    Reply