2014 Was the Hottest Year Ever

Climate map of the planet

Two separate analyses by scientists at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released Friday January 16 last, confirm that 2014 was the hottest year on record. In fact, nine of the 10 warmest years on record — dating back to 1880 — have occurred since 2000.

«This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades – Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in a statement – 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».

The 2014 annual average temperature in the United States was 52.6 degrees Fahrenheit, about half a degree above the 20th-century average. Last year was also one of the wettest on record in the U.S., with precipitation levels at about 0.82 inch above average, and it ranked as the 40th wettest year in the 120-year period on record.

«The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity», said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

The change in weather patterns is also leading to an increase in volatile meteorological activity. In 2014, there were eight weather- or climate-related disaster events in the U.S. costing more than $1 billion each.

(by Taylor Hill TakePart’s associate environment and wildlife editor)

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