sea level rise

Climate change visualized: How Earth's temperature has changed since 1970

Data: NASA GISS; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios

2018 was Earth's 4th-warmest year on record, coming in behind 2016, the planet's warmest recorded year, as well as 2015 and 2017, according to information released by NOAA, NASA and the U.K. Met Office.

Why it matters: The yearly rankings don't tell the whole story of long-term climate change, since natural variability can still push or pull an individual year up or down the rankings. However, the overall picture is growing starker with each passing year. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record since reliable data began in 1880 have occurred since 2005. At the same time, greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels — as well as deforestation and intensive agriculture — have skyrocketed to levels not seen in more than 800,000 years.

Pompeo says reductions in Arctic ice offer "new opportunities for trade"

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on Arctic policy at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland on Monday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on Arctic policy at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland on Monday. Photo: Mendel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told diplomats at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland on Monday that the rapidly warming Arctic region presents a land of "opportunity and abundance," citing untapped resources like oil, gas, uranium and gold and rare earth minerals.

"And its centerpiece, the Arctic Ocean, is rapidly taking on new strategic significance. Offshore resources, which are helping the respective coastal states, are the subject of renewed competition. Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passage ways and new opportunities for trade."