The UN agency World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced officially that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record (The Indian Express, February 7). It reached that conclusion with a consolidated analysis five leading international datasets, which showed that the global average surface temperature in 2018 was approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900). In fact, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been confirmed as the four warmest years on record (see graph based on US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data).
The year 2016, which was influenced by a strong El-Niño event, remains the warmest year on record (1.2°C above pre-industrial baseline). Global average temperatures in 2017 and 2015 were both 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. The latter two years are virtually indistinguishable.
Last year was the 42nd consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.
Only one year from the 20th century — 1998 — was among the 10 warmest years on record. —Source: WMO & NOAA