2018 was the fourth-hottest year on record

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(WASHINGTON D.C.)- a year ago was the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Two U.S. agencies, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization analyzed global temperatures in slightly different ways, but each came to the same conclusion Wednesday: 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record behind 2016, 2015 and 2017.

In fact, the past five years have been, "collectively, the warmest years in the modern record", according to NASA.

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

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).

That warming is driven by the amount of greenhouse gases humans have introduced into the atmosphere, particularly in the least 100 years, Schmidt said. It was the fourth highest since 1880, the earliest year for which records are available.

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There were 14 weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion, for a total of $91 billion, Arndt said.

"Twenty-eighteen is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend", Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement. The NOAA analysis found the 2018 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was only the 14th warmest on record; in other places, it was much hotter. Scientists have linked climate change to more destructive hurricanes like Michael and Florence previous year, and have found links to such phenomena as the polar vortex, which last week delivered bone-chilling blasts to the American Midwest and Northeast.

The human toll also was high, with 247 killed and many more injured in weather and climate disasters. The WMO said heightened temperatures also contributed to a number of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and flash flooding.

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The 2018 global temperature reports were originally scheduled for release in mid-January, but they were delayed because the 35-day partial government shutdown prevented government scientists from finalizing their calculations.

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