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2019 State of the Climate Highlights

Each year from January to June, hundreds of scientists from around the world crunch the numbers on the previous year's climate, reviewing and cataloging everything from sea level, to the number and strength of hurricanes in every part of the ocean, to the size of the Arctic sea ice pack.

Led by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorology Society, this year's report (full download) offers insight on global climate indicators, extreme weather events, and other valuable information on the state of the climate.


Global Carbon Dioxide Concentrations in 2019

The global annual average atmospheric CO2 concentration was 409.8 parts per million (ppm). This was 2.5 ppm greater than 2018 amounts and was the highest in the modern 61-year measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years.

Surface Temperature in 2019

Global surface temperatures were near-record high. Annual global surface temperatures were 0.79°–1.00°F (0.44°–0.56°C) above the 1981–2010 average, depending on the dataset used. This places 2019 among the three warmest years since records began in the mid-to-late 1800s. July was the hottest month in records dating to the mid-to-late 1800s. The six warmest years on record have all occurred in the past six years, since 2014. Each decade since 1980 has been warmer than the preceding decade, with the most recent (2010–19) being around 0.2°C warmer than the previous (2000–09).

Sea Surface Temperature in 2019

Sea surface temperatures were near-record high. The globally averaged 2019 sea surface temperature was the second-highest on record, surpassed only by the record El Niño year of 2016.

Sea Level in 2019

The global sea level was highest on record. For the eighth consecutive year, the global average sea level rose to a new record high and was about 3.4 inches (87.6 mm) higher than the 1993 average, the year that marks the beginning of the satellite altimeter record. This rise represents an increase of 6.1 mm from 2018. Global sea level is rising at an average rate of 1.3 inches (32 mm) per decade. Melting of glaciers and ice sheets, along with warming oceans, account for the trend in rising global mean sea level.

Arctic Sea Ice in 2019

The minimum sea ice extent, reached on September 18, tied with 2007 and 2016 for the second-smallest minimum extent in the 41-year satel­lite record. Sea ice extent in September across the Arctic Ocean is now declining at a rate of −12.9% per decade. In the Bering Sea, increasing ocean temperatures and reduced sea ice—which was by far the lowest on record there for the second consecutive winter—are leading to shifts in fish distributions within some of the most valuable fisheries in the world.

Tropical Cyclones in 2019

Tropical cyclones were well above average overall. There were 96 named tropical storms during the Northern and Southern Hemisphere storm seasons, well above the 1981–2010 average of 82. Five tropical cyclones reached Saffir–Simpson scale Category 5 intensity.


Visit the American Meteorology Society to read the full report and keep an eye on climate.gov for frequent updates.

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