Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 is the Hottest Year in Recorded History

It looks as though 2014 will qualify as the hottest year on record. This is noteworthy in the context of the string of record breaking heat in recent decades. This decade was warmer than last, which was warmer than the previous decade. With fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record having occurred in the 21st century, the trend clearly points to a warming world.

The observation that 2014 will be the warmest year in recorded history is confirmed by reports from World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.K.’s Met Office and NOAA. We set global average heat records on average every five years, first in 2005 then in 2010 and now in 2014. According to data from NASA, NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency, global average heat records were set in the months of August, September and October of 2014.

The cause of this record breaking heat is human activity, specifically climate change causing carbon emissions. We have not seen current levels of atmospheric carbon (approaching 400 ppm) for millions of years.

The oceans are far warmer than usual and according to a WMO report, this extends down to a depth of 2,300 and 6,500 feet. A warmer atmosphere and hotter oceans are known to cause highly destructive extreme weather. The WMO reports that record ocean temperatures contributed to record high global average sea levels. In addition to causing the seas to rise sea, carbon is absorbed by the oceans leading to deadly acidification.

The unavoidable reality is that the earth will continue to warm. Even if we were to stop emitting carbon today a certain amount of warming is "baked into" the climate system.

To make matters worse, the coming year is likely to be even hotter than this one. According to Australian Bureau of Meteorology models, an El Niño effect will make 2015 even warmer than 2014.

Related
Global Temperature Data Underscores the Urgency of Climate Action
El Niño and Global Warming are Locked in a Feedback Loop
Hottest June Foreshadows the Hottest Year on Record
Extreme Heat in the Western World Marks the Start of Summer 2015
At Least 30 Years of Above Average Temperatures
Heat Records Tell the Story of Climate Change
India's Heat Wave Offers a Glimpse into the Future
How Much Heat is Required to Spur Global Action?
Record Breaking Heat Suggests Accelerated Warming

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