The global climate record dates back to 1880, the year that it became possible to gather reliable and consistent temperatures around the Earth.
"The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one", the UN's World Mereological Organisation (WMO) secretary-general Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
All five of those years were exceptionally warm, with only slight differences that were driven by natural variations in the weather, including the alternating cool and warm cycles from El Nino and La Nina.
All the results show the same "escalator-like" rise that scientists think is linked to the loss of sea ice, as well as an increase in extreme weather events around the world.
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"The key issues in reducing emissions are moving towards renewable fuels for electricity, moving away from internal combustion engines for transport, sequestering carbon more efficiently in agriculture, making better decisions about how we organise our world so that we don't need so much energy", Schmidt said.
Also in 2019 is already extreme weather: Australia is in the southern hemisphere, where summer is, have experienced the warmest January since records began, the offshore island of Tasmania and the driest January.
NASA and NOAA's annual climate reports, which were delayed because of the federal government shutdown, echo findings by Berkley Earth and Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service, which both recently stated 2018 was the fourth warmest on record. Average extent of sea ice in the Arctic was the second smallest on record in 2018. That was the fourth-highest number of billion-dollar disasters and the fourth-highest dollar amount, taking inflation into account.
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"Unfortunately, we're in a situation where we see [the climate change models' predictions have] come true", Schmidt tells the Times.
"What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Those who live in denial of this fact are in denial of physics", Potsdam Institute climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf said in an email. The changes in the Arctic might have contributed to the cold snap.
"What happens at the poles does not stay at the poles but influences weather and climate conditions in lower latitudes where hundreds of millions of people live".
"There is a lot of variability in a system, but when you get a five-year average saying the same thing, you are beyond the variability component, and you can feel much more confident that what you're looking at is a signal", Abdalati said.
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