2019, Second Warmest Year on Record, Capped Hottest Decade Ever

(CN) – Earth’s climate continues to warm at unprecedented and dangerous levels, and 2019 marked the second hottest year on record globally according to a new climate report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The report, released Wednesday, details how a team of NOAA researchers and scientists analyzed a vast amount of climate data from 2019 and came to several alarming conclusions. Among them is the discovery that global average temperatures were the second highest in over 140 years of record-keeping.

People cool off in the fountains of the Trocadero gardens, in front of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, on June 28, 2019. France and other nations battled a record-setting heat wave that much of Europe. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

NOAA researchers are not alone in this assessment. Similar research by NASA, the EU’s Copernicus and the World Meteorological Organization came to the same conclusion. The United Kingdom Met Office, which also examined the year’s climate data and ranked 2019 in the top three.

Researchers discovered that average global temperatures for 2019 were 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the overall average of the entire 20th century – less than one-tenth of a degree off from the record increase witnessed in 2016. This marks the 43rd consecutive year that nominal global temperatures were higher than the 20th century average.

While rising temperatures have been ongoing for decades, the 21st century has been when things have problematic turn. Data suggests that five of the warmest years on record have all taken place since 2015, while nine out of the top 10 hottest years have all transpired since 2005.

This warming is also taking place within Earth’s oceans. The NOAA report reveals that sea surface temperatures for 2019 were 1.39 degrees Fahrenheit above 20th century averages. The only year on record that saw higher sea surface temperatures was 2016, with an average 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit increase over the 20th century average.

The report indicates global warming isn’t a problem restricted to specific areas of the world. Europe saw its second hottest year on record in 2019, exacerbated by frequent and dangerous heatwaves across the continent, while Asia and Africa both saw their third warmest year.

Australia, currently grappling with intense and unprecedented wildfires, experienced its hottest in 2019 since it began keeping records in 1910.


Researchers found that even winter months have not been immune to these troubling temperature trends. Climate data reveals land temperatures in December 2019 were a whopping 3.22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th century average. This is once again the second highest average monthly increase in recorded climate history, behind only December 2015 which saw a 3.58 degrees Fahrenheit increase.

Alaska experienced its hottest year on record in 2019. The Arctic Ocean saw its seventh smallest maximum extent of sea ice during crucial growth period, indicating ice is being lost quicker than it can be replaced.

NOAA scientists, however, point to more than just increased global temperatures to help illustrate Earth’s worsening climate conditions. Researchers point to Hurricane Dorian, a catastrophic storm that ravaged the Atlantic Ocean in 2019 stands as the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, storms and cyclones in the southern Indian Ocean were more frequent in 2019 than in the past. The region saw 16 major storms and 13 cyclones in 2019 alone, well above the average storm activity for the region.

The report outlines these troubling factors, as well as several others, to help paint a picture of Earth’s declining climate health and to equip people and governments around the globe with the kind of knowledge they need to make well informed, critical climate decisions.

NOAA representatives did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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