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It's Official: 2014 Was Hottest Year Ever Recorded

Jan 10, 2015 05:14 PM EST
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So 2014's December may have been bone-chillingly cold for some parts of the world, but when measurements from every corner of the Earth from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 were finally combined and averaged, it was revealed that this past year was easily the hottest ever recorded.

That's at least according to Japan's Meteorological Agency, one of the four primary record-keeping organizations that routinely measure, gather, and assess net temperature data from across the globe. This data includes both terrestrial and water surface temperatures, which - as shown by this past record-breaking summer being driven by a warming ocean - can vary significantly.

"The global average surface temperature in 2014 was +0.27 degrees C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.63 C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891 (when the most comprehensive net global measurements began). On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.70 C per century," the agency reported. (Scroll to read on...)

Of course, this didn't exactly come as a surprise. Last November, the NOAA and the World Meteorological Organization announced that 2014 was continuing to break record averages, and was well on track to become the hottest year known.

This revelation also added some urgency to talks during the annual summit on global warming in Lima, Peru, where 195 officials with the United Nations (UN) began to call for more drastic action to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

Experts pressed that although our understanding of the global carbon cycle is still lacking in accuracy, it also appeared that 2014, as of September, saw a new record high in carbon dioxide concentrations, worrying parties concerned with the heat-trapping effects of greenhouse gases.

"There has never been so much scientific evidence of the severe and irreversible social and natural effects of climate change," Manuel Pulgar Vidal, the Peruvian environment minister presiding over the two-week UN conference, stated, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "Never has it been so clear that the window of opportunity to reduce [carbon] emissions is closing quickly."

However, some climatologists are quick to point out that global averages for temperature are not the end-all to understanding climate change. Interestingly, researchers recently found that a strange flip in temperature anomalies is also occurring, in which the number of uncharacteristically hot days are starting to outnumber uncharacteristically cold days in regions all across the globe - a pattern that hasn't been seen in decades.

However, this does reflect another worrying trend highlighted by Climate Central back in November: that the globe hasn't seen a record-breaking cold year in more than century.


[Credit: Climate Central / YouTube]

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