Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring scientific warnings about the risks of runaway emissions and undermining claims by climate-change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped, reports the New York Times. This new report may lend support to President Obama as he make his appeal on climate change in India, as reported by the Inquisitr.
In the record books of climatology, 2014 surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.
According to Live Science, at the end of November 2014, the planet’s average temperature was on track to soar 1.22 degrees Fahrenheit (0.68 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. This information was obtained from NOAA during its December 2014 monthly climate update.
The United Kingdom’s Hadley Center also tracks global temperatures, but has not released its final numbers. However, Britain’s Met Office said that 2014 was unusually warm and wet in the United Kingdom, with the highest temperatures measured in central England since record keeping started in 1659. (NASA and NOAA are the other two temperature keepers.) Other regional standouts included Australia and its searing heat waves, Russia’s early spring, and Europe’s broiling summer, plus record surface warmth in the tropical and eastern Pacific Ocean, reported Live Science.
Several scientists said the most remarkable thing about the 2014 record was that it occurred in a year that did not feature El Niño, a large-scale weather pattern in which the ocean dumps an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere, reports the New York Times.
Claims by climate-change skeptics that global warming has stopped, seized on by politicians in Washington to justify inaction on emissions, depend on a particular starting year: 1998, when an unusually powerful El Niño produced the hottest year of the 20th century.
With the continued heating of the atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, 1998 is now being surpassed every four or five years, with 2014 being the first time that has happened in a year featuring no real El Niño pattern. Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said the next time a strong El Niño occurs, it is likely to blow away all temperature records.
“Obviously, a single year, even if it is a record, cannot tell us much about climate trends,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “However, the fact that the warmest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 clearly indicates that global warming has not ‘stopped in 1998,’ as some like to falsely claim.”
[Image via LA Sight]