Second warmest year on record
There is no powerful El Niño lurking in the tropical Pacific Ocean to add extra heat to the oceans and atmosphere, but the relentlessly accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, plus natural climate variability, have helped to push 2019 toward record warmth anyway.
Through September, which NOAA reported Wednesday was the hottest such month on record globally, the year so far ranks as the second-warmest since instrument records began in the late 19th century. The odds now slightly favor that 2019 will end up being the second-warmest year, coming in behind 2016. However, it’s possible it will slip slightly in ranking to 3rd or 4th-warmest, according to NOAA projections.
Matching analyses by the Copernicus Climate Change Service and NASA, NOAA found that September featured exceptional warmth worldwide, particularly in North America and the Northern Hemisphere overall.
For the first nine months of the year, the average global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.69 degrees above the 20th century average, which was 0.22 degrees behind 2016, and just 0.02 degrees above the third-warmest year, which was set in 2017. All of the top 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2005, with the exception of one — 1998 — when an unusually intense El Niño provided a major natural boost.