The last five years have been Earth's warmest since records began

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp fire consume a home in Magalia California in November 2018

While 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, British meteorologists are predicting the next five years will be much hotter, maybe even record-breaking.

According to a news release, NOAA found that the average global temperature was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

While 2018 was slightly cooler than the three prior years, Earth still had its fourth-warmest year since scientists began keeping records in 1880, the federal agencies said.

"2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend", NASA's GISS director Gavin Schmidt said. Scientists say that if the world is to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, global temperatures must not rise by more than two degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

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Sadly, the increasingly warm temperatures are being caused by human activity due to the growing numbers of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

NOAA notes that weather dynamics affect regional temperatures, so not every region experienced the same amount of warming.

"Increasing temperatures can also contribute to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events".

NASA clarified that it gathers its measurements from "6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations". This year has started with mild El Nino conditions, "which suggests 2019 will be warmer than 2018 but that's more a rule of thumb than a firm prediction", Schmidt said.

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A 2018 NOAA map shows where average temperatures were higher than usual.

Both the sea surface temperature and the land surface temperature ranked the fourth highest on record, according to NOAA.

NASA adds that temperatures do vary by region.

Last year was also the third wettest on record in the U.S. Nine eastern states had their wettest years on record, "an exclamation point on a trend of big rain" in the age of climate change, Arndt said. Instead, his administration is working to unravel Obama-era environmental rules in favor of policies that would allow more greenhouse gas emissions from cars, trucks and coal-fired power plants.

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WMO also released a report on Wednesday that the globally averaged temperature in 2018 was about 0.38 degrees Celsius above the 1981 to 2010 long-term average. Scientists warn that if we're to avoid the worst affects of climate change, we cannot allow the temperature to rise more than 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.

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