Friday, January 16, 2015

It's Official - 2014 Hottest Year Ever Recorded

NASA and NOAA released the annual state of the climate report for 2014 this morning. They also held a live streaming video of a joint press conference. The report came out 30 minutes prior to the news conference and was on the National Climatic Data Center website. At least, that is what I was told. When I tried to get into both the NCDC site and the streaming conference they were so busy I was unable to. I missed the conference all together and it took a full hour to see the report. Apparently, people all over the world were eager to hear what they had to say. That is a good thing. It means this issue is getting a lot of attention. Hopefully, that will translate into some actions.

Now for the report highlights.

As expected, the report for December stated it was the hottest December ever recorded for the globe.
Also to no surprise, 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. The report stated
The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). This also marks the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 135-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century. 1998 currently ranks as the fourth warmest year on record.
I wonder how many people claiming global warming has stopped will read those last two statements. Nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since the year 2000. How is that possible, if warming has stopped?

What is disturbing about last year's heat is that it did not have an El Nino. For more than 30 years, each hottest year all had El Ninos, including the very extreme year of 1998 which deniers like to cherry pick as their starting point on heat records. This was the first time since 1990 that a year without an El Nino set the heat record. What that means is that a regular year is now hotter than an extreme year 16 years ago. At this rate, we will look back on 1998 with fondness and longing, in terms of temperature. (Ah, yes! 1998! The good old days.)

Tell me once again about how there has been no warming for 17 years.

An article in Scientific American listed five of the hottest places on Earth:
  • Australia set heat records for the second year in a row, including heat waves in the (southern) summer with temperatures over 120 degrees F; followed by heat waves in the fall and spring.
  • Eastern Pacific Ocean: An El Nino was expected to form this year, but failed to appear. This didn't stop the region from setting temperature records. NOAA reported the sea surface temperature for the global ocean was 1.13 F (.63 C) above the 20th century average for the September to November time period. The previous record was 0.11 F (.06 C). 
  • Siberia: The Arctic region has seen the greatest amount of warming in recent decades and Siberia saw temperatures 9 F (5 C) above the 1981 - 2010 average (where is that heat island effect in Siberia?). Ice on the Ob River broke up two weeks earlier than normal. 
  • California: Record drought, record heat. The first 10 months of 2014 were the warmest in state history since 1895.
  • Northern Europe: While the U.S. had a cold winter, that same weather pattern caused it to be warmer than usual in Europe. Many countries saw the warmest spring in as much as 100 years. January to October was the warmest 10-month period on record for Central England since 1659, and the warmest such period for the Netherlands since 1706.

The annual report gave this tally for the year:
Six months of 2014 (May, June, August, September, October, and December) were record warm, while April was second warmest, January, March, and July were fourth warmest for their respective months, and November was seventh warmest.

The tally I kept from the monthly reports was somewhat different (they are now saying April was the second warmest and the monthly report lists it as tied for warmest) and came out this way:

December was the hottest December ever recorded;

November was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October was the hottest October ever recorded;

September was the hottest September ever recorded;

August was the hottest August ever recorded;

July was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May was the hottest May ever recorded;

April tied 2010 as the hottest April ever recorded;

March was the fourth hottest March ever recorded;

We got a break in February. It was only the 21st hottest February ever recorded;

But, that break followed the hottest January since 2007 and the fourth hottest January on record.

So, let's see what the final score was for 2014: one 21st hottest month, one 7th hottest month, three 4th hottest months, and seven hottest months ever.

Additionally, we had the hottest overall year ever recorded.

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