With the start of the New Year far behind us, it almost feels like looking back to 2018 is a wasted feat. However, as the world continues to spiral into climatic disaster (we’re currently experiencing the hottest February on record!) and as the youth of our nations continue to gather in protest against human destruction and the death of Gaia, looking back to the significant (and scary) milestones from 2018 is no wasted feat in reminding us all that we must continue the fight in lowering our carbon emissions.
From Alaska to Australia, I’m going to travel around the world to highlight some of the recording hitting climate landmarks most notable from the last year.
Stop 1: Alaska - which had its 2nd warmest year on record
I’ve never been to Alaska myself but I gather it’s meant to be cold (or at least colder than it was in 2018). That’s why hearing that it achieved its 2nd warmest year on record can only point to the fact that indeed, the world is getting hotter. The announcement was made as part of a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which looked at seven categories of the Arctic’s “Vital Signs” including snow cover, the condition of the Greenland ice sheets and sea ice.
Other shocking discoveries as part of these vital signs include the 6th lowest year for summer sea ice and second lowest year for winter sea ice in the Arctic region.
On the weather forecast yesterday, the recent wave of high temperatures across the UK and north of Europe has already pushed warm air up into the Arctic Circle, a further anomaly in weather patterns which will no doubt have an effect on the vital signs for 2019.
Stop 2: Algeria - which hit a record temperature of over 51C
Moving from cold(ish) to extremely hot, while I also haven’t been to Algeria either, the country sits in one of the hottest continents on Earth. Therefore, the worldwide increase in temperature can only mean one thing – where it’s hot, it gets hotter.
In summer 2018 Algeria endured the hottest temperature ever measured, it was even the hottest temperature ever recorded in Africa.
Stop 3: Europe – which had its 4th warmest year on record
If you live in the northern hemisphere you will remember the heatwaves that swept across the UK last summer.
Since the 1880s, Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1C which has been blamed mainly on the increase in carbon dioxide emissions. This is set to rise even further over the next 20 years, an issue which will cause very significant problems to the planet, as I’ve discussed in a previous article here.
As the world heats up, especially in parts of Europe which aren’t as familiar with these prolonged periods of warm weather, the reliance on cooling technology increases (as it is doing all over the world). This is where effective and environmentally friendly technology is crucial to keeping earth and its occupants cool.
Over the next few years cooling requirements are likely to increase vastly (almost double by 2050) so making the right choice when it comes to keeping your building cool now, will pay off in the future as Governments continue to phase down on gasses.
This means opting for lower Global Warming Potential air conditioning systems (which uses a less harmful refrigerant gas) and choosing a manufacturer with sustainability and the environment at its heart is the best step to take right now.
Stop 4: Pakistan - which hit a record temperature of over 45C
Pakistan however isn’t unfamiliar with high temperatures. In 2015 a heatwave hit Sindh province and over 800 people died (in neighbouring India 1,700 died in a heatwave the month previously). This area of Pakistan actually achieved its all-time highest temperature in Karachi of 47C in June 1979.
In 2018 however, while 45C wasn’t a record breaker, it was still a record in terms of highest temperatures in the month of April, on the planet, ever recorded.
Stop 5: Australia - which had its 3rd warmest year
In January 2019 the Bureau of Meteorology officially claimed 2018 as Australia’s third warmest year on record; the warmest year on record being 2013 and then 2005. It also had its most significant dry period post-millennium drought, affecting parts of New South Wales and Queensland. September 2018 also saw the lowest rainfall on record nationally and the second-lowest for any month since April 1902!
For a full round up of Australia’s climate in 2018 you can take a look here.
Overall 2018 saw Earth have its 4th warmest year on record (since 1880); the others being 2016, 2015, 2017 and in first place 2014. The average rate of increase since 1981 has been more than twice as rapid, potentially due to the acceleration in global warming (which I mentioned previously).
In case you wondered however, 2018 was slightly cooler than these previous years due to it falling near the minimum of the 11 year solar sunspot cycle which exerted a slight cooling influence! Either way, the average global temperature rise for 2018 was around 0.97C above the 1880-1900 average which is hugely concerning.
So far in 2019 however, we are already seeing heat related records such as February shaping up to be the warmest winter month in England on record, which makes me wonder how my trip around the world will look next year…
I expect it to be even hotter.
Other notable heat related records in 2018 include:
Taiwan hitting 40.3C in July
Japan hitting 41.1C in July
South Korea hitting 41C in August
No nations set all-time cold temperatures records.