Report: 2019 Marked The End Of Earth’s Warmest Decade Since Record-Keeping Began
Last year closed out the Earth’s warmest decade on record, according to federal climate scientists, and 2019 took second place in terms of the warmest year recorded to date.
Record-keeping for global temperatures began 140 years ago, USA Today reported, in the year 1880. Since that time, 2016 holds the top spot in terms of warmest years recorded, but 2019 was cooler by just .07 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA — both of which are “keepers of the world's temperature data and independently produce a record of Earth's surface temperatures and changes based on historical observations over oceans and land” — announced the new data at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Boston.
According to the report, 2019 “was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average from 1901-2000.” Earth’s five warmest years have all occurred since 2015, per the data, and the planet has now seen above-average temperatures for 43 years straight.
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said this trend cannot be explained merely by natural environmental changes and pointed to human causes — including pollution, deforestation and most significantly, greenhouse gas emissions — as reasons for the rising temperatures.
"We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back," Schmidt said. "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."