Global temperatures for the last 43 years have been above the 20th-century average.
The director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin A. Schmidt said the data clearly showed 2019 was the second warmest year on record.
Schmidt presented global temperature trends at the 100th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting with Derek Arndt, Chief Monitoring Branch, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Arndt said 2019 was the second warmest year for the land, ocean, and combined temperatures averages across the globe. 2016 is the warmest year on record.
“The last five years do stand out relative to the recent pack,” Arndt said.
Since 2015 global temperatures each year were at least 1.49 degrees above the 20th-century average 57 degrees and more than a 0.1-degree jump above the 6th ranked 2014 global temperature.
Additionally, 2010-2019 is the hottest decade on record.
Since 1880 the decadal average has increased at a rate of 0.13 degrees per decade.
“The fact is the planet is warming,” Schmidt said.
Over the last four decades, the rate of increase in Global averages is double at 0.3 degrees.
“Notwithstanding some major geophysical event, it will be almost certain that the (next) decade will be warmer than the last,” Arndt said.
A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. Arndt noted 2019 was the second wettest year for the United States.
“In the long run, a warmer atmosphere can contain more water vapor. The wet places and wet season are getting wetter,” Arndt said.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be drought. Arndt said the dry places are getting drier.
The warming trend is also contributing to melting ice caps in the Arctic. Most areas in the ocean experiencing cooler than normal temperatures are due to the cold water flowing off the ice.
“The Arctic region is warming at a rate approximately 3 times the rest of the planet,” Arndt said.
Schmidt said human contribution to greenhouse gasses is the dominant term leading to the warming trend.
“It really can’t be explained any other way,” Schmidt said.
He did mention in the past climate changed and it had nothing to do with humans. Schmidt said in the 20th-century, there was not an asteroid, massive volcanism, a shift in the solar cycle or any natural forcing that would adjust the climate.