We have big news on the climate change front today from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s not bad — it’s terrible: 2014 Earth’s warmest year on record; December 2014 record warm; Global oceans also record warm for 2014.
Global highlights: Calendar Year 2014
For extended analysis of global climate patterns, please see our full Annual report.
- During 2014, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 135 years in the 1880-2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07°F (0.04°C).
- Record warmth was spread around the world, including Far East Russia into western Alaska, the western United States, parts of interior South America, most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, much of the northeastern Pacific around the Gulf of Alaska, the central to western equatorial Pacific, large swaths of northwestern and southeastern Atlantic, most of the Norwegian Sea, and parts of the central to southern Indian Ocean.
- During 2014, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 1.80°F (1.00°C) above the 20th century average. This was the fourth highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record.
- During 2014, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.03°F (0.57°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
- Looking above Earth's surface at certain layers of the atmosphere, two different analyses examined NOAA satellite-based data records for the lower and middle troposphere and the lower stratosphere.
- The 2014 temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest five miles of the atmosphere) was third highest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.50°F (0.28°C) above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), and sixth highest on record, at 0.29°F (0.16°C) above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).
- The 2014 temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly two miles to six miles above the surface) was third highest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.32°F (0.18°C) above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and sixth highest on record, at 0.25°F (0.14°C) above the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by RSS.
- The temperature for the lower stratosphere (roughly 10 miles to 13 miles above the surface) was 13th lowest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.56°F (0.31°C) below the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and also 13th lowest on record, at 0.41°F (0.23°C) below the 1981-2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. The stratospheric temperature is decreasing on average while the lower and middle troposphere temperatures are increasing on average, consistent with expectations in a greenhouse-warmed world.
- According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average annual Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during 2014 was 24.95 million square miles, and near the middle of the historical record. The first half of 2014 saw generally below-normal snow cover extent, with above-average coverage later in the year.
- Recent polar sea ice extent trends continued in 2014. The average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was 10.99 million square miles, the sixth smallest annual value of the 36-year period of record. The annual Antarctic sea ice extent was record large for the second consecutive year, at 13.08 million square miles.
This picture of a catastrophe in the making is not even all the horrible climate news today; a new analysis of data from hundreds of sources shows that we humans are on the brink of causing a mass extinction event in the world’s oceans.
I was going to post something snarky to close this post, but this is some really scary shit, people. And we have a political party in this country doing everything in its power to stop us from dealing with it — if it isn’t already too late. This is political malfeasance on a frightening scale.