You are here: Q-news > The year 2019 was the second hottest year on record

The year 2019 was the second hottest year on record

Drought in Namibia, 2020 (Photo: Dumbassman)According to recent figures, the year 2019 was the second hottest on record for the Earth’s surface. Illustrating the scale of the climate emergency, the reports found that both the past five years and the past decade were the hottest in 170 years (i.e. since records began). The previous hottest year was 2016, at a time when El Niño, a natural event in which tropical ocean currents are reversed in the Pacific, boosted global temperatures. The new figures—recorded by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—are for average global surface air temperatures. Other data for average global sea temperatures show that these reached a record high in 2019. More than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity is absorbed by the oceans.

Warming stripes (Photo: Ed Hawkins)
This (above) is a warming stripes graphic for 1850 (left side) to 2018 (right side). Each year is represented by a single stripe. Warming stripes clearly show the progress of global warming with blue stripes (cooler years) turning into mostly red stripes (warmer years) as the years go past.

Q-files now has new sections specially written for younger readers. They are: Living world, Earth, Science, Human body, Prehistoric life, Space, History, Geography and Technology.

Find the answer