A new State of the Climate report confirmed that 2018 was the fourth warmest year in records dating to the mid-1800s.
Last year was the fourth warmest year on record despite La Niña conditions early in the year and the lack of a short-term warming El Niño influence until late in the year. The report found that the major indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet. Several markers such as sea level and greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere once again broke records set just one year prior.
These key findings and others are available from the State of the Climate in 2018 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).
Geographical Regional Highlights
Additional geographical regional highlights include:
- Mexico reported its third warmest year in its 48-year record, and Alaska reported its second warmest in its 94-year record.
- On April 14–15, 2018, 1,262 mm of rain was recorded at Waipā Gardens (Kauai), Hawaii, setting a new U.S. record for 24-hour precipitation.
- There were 14 weather and climate events during the year that each caused over $1 billion (U.S. dollars) in damages—the fourth highest in terms of cost since records began in 1980.
Central America and the Caribbean
- Jamaica observed its highest annual average maximum temperature since records began in 1971, while the Bahamas reported its fifth highest annual average maximum temperature. Conversely, the annual average maximum temperature for Barbados was its third lowest.
- Coral reef bleaching associated with above-average sea surface temperatures, occurred across much of the Caribbean during July–September.
- A record seven extreme snowfall events occurred in the central and southern Peruvian Andes during the austral winter of 2018. These storms contributed to the wettest winter for the region in its 19-year record.
- In northeastern Brazil, dry conditions observed since 2012 persisted through 2018, but with less intensity. In southeastern Brazil, São Paulo experienced its driest austral summer since 2003. The extreme dry conditions led to wildfires that affected crop fields and protected areas.
- South Africa and the nearby Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius, Réunion, and Mayotte all observed one of their four warmest years on record. Madagascar recorded its all-time maximum temperature of 40.5°C in Morondava on March 16, 2018. On July 5, 2018, the temperature reached 51.3°C at Ouargla, Algeria, a new national record for the country.
- Annual precipitation was above normal in northern Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands; Rodrigues and Réunion each reported their third wettest year on record. In early January, Tropical Cyclone Ava contributed to heavy rainfall and flooding in Mauritius, including a 24-hour rainfall total of 311 mm.
- Europe was one of the hotspots for the globe in 2018. The continent observed its second warmest year since at least 1950, behind only 2014. Several countries, including France, Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, reported record high annual temperatures.
- Much of northern and central Europe experienced a dry year with precipitation totals 60%– 80% of normal, and even below 40% in Latvia and Estonia, contributing to a drought that lasted much of the year. The Netherlands reported one of its driest summers since records began in 1906, with July its driest month ever observed. Ireland also reported its driest summer since its records began in 1962, with June and July each record dry. The extreme heat and severe drought across Europe had far reaching impacts on water supply, forests, and crops, leading to major economic losses in many countries.
- Annual mean surface air temperatures during 2018 were above normal across most of Asia. Turkey observed its second warmest year, after 2010, with records dating to 1967. In India, the average temperature during the pre-monsoon season (March–May) was the highest on record. In neighboring Pakistan, the city of Nawabshah recorded its all-time highest temperature of 50.2°C, which may also be a new world temperature record for April.
- South Korea experienced a record hot summer. The highest temperature ever recorded in South Korea was set on August 1, 2018: 41.0°C in Hongcheon. In mid-July, an all-time national record high temperature of 41.1°C was set at Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
- Nearly all the islands of Micronesia experienced impacts from various tropical cyclones during the year. Typhoon Jelawat brought over 500 mm of rainfall in two days to parts of Pohnpei Island. Typhoon Mangkhut passed over Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and northern Guam in September, and Super Typhoon Yutu passed over Tinian and Saipan in the CNMI in October, each causing catastrophic damages.
- The annual temperature for New Zealand tied with 1998 as the second highest since records began in 1909, behind only 2016. January 2018 marked New Zealand’s single warmest month on record.
- Warmth was widespread and persistent across Australia, with the country experiencing its third warmest year since records began in 1910. Australia also saw a rapid intensification and expansion of drought conditions, with significant fires in March on the south coast of New South Wales and across southwest Victoria.
Direct to Report Highlights/Blog Post via NOAA
Direct to Full Text Report (via AMS)
325 pages; PDF.
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