State of the Climate in 2018

iceberg melting in a body of waterThe American Meteorological Society (AMS) released a new State of the Climate report confirming that 2018 climate indicators “reached new highs for their observational histories.” According to the report, 2018 was the fourth warmest year in records dating to the mid-1800s. Led by NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, this report provides a detailed update on the global climate change phenomenon, as well as significant weather trends. 

The main objective of this report is to “show patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system.” The observations include measurements of greenhouse gases; land and ocean temperatures; cloud and snow cover; sea levels; ocean salinity; and sea ice extent. In addition to global indicators, the report provides an overview of geographical regional highlights and extreme weather patterns. In addition, the report provides a discussion on the economic impact of these conditions.

The following key indicators suggest continuous trends towards planet warming:

  • The major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide, rose to new record high values during 2018;
  • Global surface temperature was near-record high with the four warmest years on record all occurring since 2015;
  • Sea surface temperature was near-record high while the deeper ocean continues to warm year after year;
  • Global sea level was highest on record rising at an average rate of 1.2 inches (3.1 cm) per decade;
  • The Arctic and Antarctic continued to warm with maximum sea ice extent measured at near-record low; and
  • Tropical cyclone activity was well above average overall.

The HSDL offers many additional resources related to global climate issues in our special featured topics Climate ChangeHurricanes, Mass Evacuations, and Social Media Use in Emergencies. Please note: you will need HSDL login to view some of these resources.

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