Signals and impacts of the long-term global warming trend have continued in 2018, following the 20 warmest years recorded in the past 22 years, the United Nations meteorological agency warned on Thursday ahead of United Nations climate change negotiations slated for next week.
Other signs of climate change including sea level rises, the oceans warming and becoming more acidic as they absorb carbon emissions, sea ice and glacier melting, and more extreme weather, have all been seen this year.
Global temperatures were nearly 1C above pre-industrial levels in the first ten months of 2018, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
'Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3.5C (6.3F) by the end of the century.
"It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it", Taalas warned.
Scientists say that it is vital to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 Celsius to avert more extreme weather, rising sea levels and the loss of plant and animal species, although limiting the rise to 1.5C would have a far greater benefit.
It also suggests a relatively weak El Niño in early 2019 could mean next year is even hotter, with forecasted temperature rises of as much as 5°C by 2100. It makes a difference to the speed of glacier melt and water supplies, and the future of low-lying islands and coastal communities.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius reported that the average global temperature for the decade 2006-2015 was 0.86 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline. "Every extra bit matters".
A United Kingdom assessment published on 26 November warned summer temperatures could be up to 5.4C (9.7F) hotter and summer rainfall could decrease by up to 47 per cent by 2070. London could become increasingly vulnerable to storms and flooding due to sea-level rises, with the water level in the capital likely to rise by 1.15 metres by the end of the century.
The WMO estimates the likelihood of an El Nino occurring within the next three months at 75 to 80 percent.
The provisional statement on the state of the climate in 2018 warns ocean heat is at or near record highs, sea levels were 2-3mm higher in the first half of this year than the same period in 2017, and Arctic sea ice extent was well below average throughout 2018.
"The evidence, if we needed any more, continues to stack up", said Greenpeace's Head of Delegation Jens Mattias Clausen.
Greece also had fatalities from fires, while British Columbia broke its record for the most land burned in a fire season. We're in the midst of a climate crisis and this meteorological report spells out the worsening threat in startling clarity.