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The Rhone glacier in Obergoms, Switzerland melting. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

It's almost time to officially conclude that 2019 was the second-hottest year in temperature records that date back to the 1800s.

Driving the news: "It appears nearly certain (>99% likelihood) that 2019 will conclude as the second-warmest year since measurements began in 1850, behind only the exceptional warmth of 2016," the research group Berkeley Earth confirmed a few days ago.

Why it matters: The comment in their analysis of November's temperatures is the latest evidence of the long-term warming trend that stems from human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

  • It's consistent with other analyses showing that it's likely 2019 will end up as the second-warmest. NASA is slated to announce a similar finding later this month.

The big picture: "With the decade coming to a close, [it's] clear that the period from 2010–2019 was the warmest decade the world has seen since records began in the mid-18o0s. It was around 0.19C warmer than the 2000s, and 1.1C warmer than the preindustrial period," Berkeley Earth's Zeke Hausfather tweeted on New Year's Eve.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.