Last year was the second warmest recorded year since humans started keeping track of global temperatures in the late 1800s, according to a joint release from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The space agency says that it and NOAA conducted independent analyses of the data and both came to the same conclusion. At this point in time, the only hotter year on record is 2016, meaning the last half-decade has officially been the warmest in 140 years.
NASA says that last decade was the warmest on record, maintaining a steady trend that has been taking place since the 1960s. In comparison to the mean temperature from 1951 to 1980, NASA says its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) found that 2019 was 1.8F degrees warmer. Among other things, scientists observed water pooling on sheets of Greenland ice as it melted from the atypically warm temps.
Looking back to the late 1880s when modern global surface temperature records started being kept, NASA says the average global surface temperature on Earth has increased to an average temperature of more than 2F degrees beyond what the records show for the late part of the 19th century.
These numbers are hard to put into perspective, so to help is an example from the space agency, which says that the most recent Ice Age was triggered by temperatures that were only 10F colder than usual. As has been stated for years, researchers say that human activities producing greenhouse gases are largely the cause of this temperature increase.
It is unlikely that we’ll step back from the 2 degrees average increase that occurred back in 2015, according to scientists. The trend has held steady over the last half-decade, meaning this isn’t just a fluke or a problem with the data, but instead is a reality that humanity must face before it gets worse. Addressing such concerns, NASA says that the 2019 global mean temperature change has a 95-percent certainty level and accuracy to within 0.1F degrees.
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