U.S. officials have confirmed that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA just revealed that temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the worldwide average, which includes temperatures between 1951 and 1980.

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Temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest of any year since 1880. That places 2018 slightly behind the top three average temperatures on record: 2016, 2017 and 2015, respectively.

According to The Guardian, the rise in temperatures affects more than just the heat index. Global warming also raises sea levels and spawns increasingly extreme weather patterns. In 2018, for example, the U.S. witnessed two of the worst hurricanes on record, while wildfires devastated California.

Elsewhere around the globe, India experienced massive flooding, while a disastrous typhoon hit the Philippines. Greece and Sweden also suffered deadly wildfires, and the Arctic had one of the warmest years ever. In fact, scientists warn that the Arctic is experiencing double the warming rate of any other region on Earth.

Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” NASA’s Gavin Schmidt explained. “The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heatwaves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change.”

With global warming not showing any signs of slowing down, scientists believe hotter temperatures are the new norm. This year has already begun with El Niño in the forecast, which means it could be even hotter than last year. Unless carbon emissions are drastically cut within the next decade, it is possible that we see another record setting year between now and 2023. Even if governments around the world exceed expectations in cutting carbon emissions, slowing global warming will be difficult.

Even more disturbing is the fact that we have seen 18 of the 19 hottest years since 2001. For reference, children who are now graduating from high school have only experienced record-setting temperatures. Last year was the fourth hottest year on record, but it may turn out to be a mild one for future generations.

Via The Guardian

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