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2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record, NOAA and NASA report

Posted at 11:47 AM, Feb 06, 2019

2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstraiton reported Wednesday.

According to NOAA, NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization all came to the same conclusion.

The last four years are the Top 4 warmest years in recorded history. 2016 was the warmest year on record, followed by 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Weather patterns of all sorts has certainly been spotlighted recently.

As parts of the US and Europe saw record lows last month, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology announced it had been the country's hottest January on record.

The "unprecedented" heat wave that burned its way through all of the country's melted roads, saw infrastructure fail and killed thousands of animals.

In the Northern Territory, the bodies of dozens of wild horses were found strewn along a dried-up water hole. In Victoria, more than 2,000 flying foxes died from heat stress, in what local media described as a "nightmare" event. Similar mass flying fox deaths have been recorded in the states of New South Wales and Queensland.

In the southern state of Tasmania, dozens of bushfires broke out, destroying homes and wilderness as hundreds of firefighters sought to get the blazes under control.

On January 24, residents in the southern city of Adelaide experienced the hottest day on record for their city, with temperatures peaking at 46.6 C (116 F).

Throughout the country, health warnings have been issued, advising people to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, minimize physical activity and keep hydrated.

Scientists warn that without coordinated action on climate change, heat waves will become more likely.

"Climate change is making heat waves more likely but any individual event is effectively a weather phenomenon," Ben Webber, lecturer in climate science in the Climatic Research Unit at the UK's University of East Anglia, told CNN.

"We can try and mitigate against the worst effects of climate change by reducing carbon emissions, that's really the best thing to do -- but obviously that requires global action. So individuals can help, but it has to be a big global action to be effective," he said.

"That comes back to what politicians have been trying to agree on ... and that's why these extreme events are part of the motivation for striving to limit global mean temperatures' rise to less than 2 degrees (Celsius) or possibly to 1.5 degrees against current levels," Webber said. While we can't control the weather, he added, we can adapt to and minimize the impact that extreme weather can have on us.

That comes down to having the necessary infrastructure in place to deal with the extremes, he said.