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Undeniable warming: The planet’s hottest five years on record in five images

Earth’s five warmest years, including 2018, have been the past five years.

Temperature differences from normal around the globe averaged over the last five years (2014-2018). (NASA)

Five different organizations that track temperatures have all come to this conclusion: 2018 ranked among the five warmest years on record, landing in fourth place.

All of them — NOAA, NASA, Berkeley Earth, the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre and the Japan Meteorological Agency — crunched the numbers using different methods, but they each arrived at the same answer. Confidence in this ranking is, thus, very high.

The past five years have each now ranked among the five warmest on record. According to NASA, 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2000.

Wildfires, hurricanes and other extreme weather cost the nation 247 lives, nearly $100 billion in damage during 2018

The warming of the planet is unambiguous and irrefutable.

If the top image doesn’t make this clear, which shows the temperature differences from normal averaged over the last five years, here are four more ...

2) A mountain of warming evidence

This chart from NASA shows the temperature difference from normal, year by year. And the tendency is for years to keep climbing higher and higher.

Here’s a similar presentation from the U.K. Hadley Centre:

3) Five data sets, the same signal

The five research institutions mentioned earlier analyze land and ocean temperatures from all over the planet. While they use different techniques for processing the data, the resulting trends hardly differ. All of them show roughly the same, unmistakable warming signal.

“Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other,” NASA’s Earth Observatory reports. “All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest.”

4) 42 straight years of above-average global temperatures

According to NOAA’s analysis, 2018 marked the 42nd year in a row of temperatures warmer than the 20th-century average — dating back to 1977. “Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest,” it noted.

5) Red is overwhelming blue

Axios created the above visual, which shows temperature differences from average around the globe during the periods centered on the 1940s and more recent decades. The contrast is stark and startling.

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