Quantcast

2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record

Climate

Climate scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the 2014 global temperatures today, and the news they delivered is a blow to climate deniers who argue that climate change-driven global warming isn't happening.

The scientists revealed that 2014 was the hottest year in 134 years of record keeping, with seven of 12 months equalling or tying previous global records for that month. In addition, seven consecutive months set new records for surface ocean heat and December 2014 was the 358th consecutive month in which the combined global land and ocean surface temperatures was above average.

In the U.S. the past year was the 18th consecutive year in which the annual average temperature was above normal. And 13 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred in the 21st century; the other two took place in 1997 and 1998, strong El Niño years. February 1985 was the last month where global temperature fell below the 20th century monthly average.

"When we have major El Niños, there is a redistribution of heat from ocean to the atmosphere, so when you have an El Niño event you have very warm conditions," said Thomas R. Karl, direcotr of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. "This year we did not have significant El Niño."

On a more local level, Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada all had their hottest year since records were kept. Denmark and Sweden has their warmest years on record, and Finland had its second warmest. Parts of Australia and Eastern Siberia also saw their warmest years.

"People are always asking, why do we think this is going on," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He said that they looked at multiple variables including volcanos, weather patterns such as El Niño land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions. Of the latter he said they found a correlation between increases in emissions and higher temperatures.

"While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases,” he said. "The trends are continuing so we anticipate further records."

In response to a question about whether the findings had caused the scientists to make any personal lifestyle changes, Schmidt said, "There are things that people can individually do—having better appliances, driving less, walking more, biking. I try. It’s a little bit tricky. The best effort we can make individually is to discuss the facts of these findings to try to help decision-makers understand that this is an issue that won’t go away, and I think we spend a lot of time doing that."

NASA and NOAA are two keepers of the world's temperature data and independently produce a record of Earth's surface temperatures, and changes based on historical observations over oceans and land. The Japan Meteorological Agency previously announced their warmest year on record; the UK Meteorological Association is expected to release numbers soon.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Record Heat in Australia Fuels Wildfires, Shuts Down Internet

Global Warming Deniers Become More Desperate By the Day

Yale Study Finds Americans Ignorant of Health Impacts From Global Warming

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Oksana Khodakovskaia / iStock / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a tree native to China that's prized for its sweet, citrus-like fruit.

Read More Show Less
Vegan rice and garbanzo beans meals. Ella Olsson / Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

One common concern about vegan diets is whether they provide your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Many claim that a whole-food, plant-based diet easily meets all the daily nutrient requirements.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.

Read More Show Less
During the summer, the Arctic tundra is usually a thriving habitat for mammals such as the Arctic fox. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Reports of extreme snowfall in the Arctic might seem encouraging, given that the region is rapidly warming due to human-driven climate change. According to a new study, however, the snow could actually pose a major threat to the normal reproductive cycles of Arctic wildlife.

Read More Show Less
A fracking well looms over a residential area of Liberty, Colorado on Aug. 19. WildEarth Guardians / Flickr

A new multiyear study found that people living or working within 2,000 feet, or nearly half a mile, of a hydraulic fracturing (fracking) drill site may be at a heightened risk of exposure to benzene and other toxic chemicals, according to research released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pope Francis flanked by representatives of the Amazon Rainforest's ethnic groups and catholic prelates march in procession during the opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region at The Vatican on Oct. 07 in Vatican City, Vatican. Alessandra Benedetti / Corbis News / Getty Images

By Vincent J. Miller

The Catholic Church "hears the cry" of the Amazon and its peoples. That's the message Pope Francis hopes to send at the Synod of the Amazon, a three-week meeting at the Vatican that ends Oct. 27.

Read More Show Less

The crowd appears to attack a protestor in a video shared on Twitter by ITV journalist Mahatir Pasha. VOA News / Youtube screenshot

Some London commuters had a violent reaction Thursday morning when Extinction Rebellion protestors attempted to disrupt train service during rush hour.

Read More Show Less
Some fruit drinks may appear to be healthier, but many can have high levels of added sugars. d3sign / Moment / Getty Images

By Kristen Fischer

Though the science has shown sugary drinks are not healthy for children, fruit drinks and similar beverages accounted for more than half of all children's drink sales in 2018, according to a new report.

Read More Show Less