It’s official. THE U.S. N.O.A.A., N.A.S.A., Japan Meteorological Agency, and Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project have all declared 2014 the warmest in their records stretching as far back as the 1850s. The 5th major global analysis record at the UK Met Office is expected to announce the same shortly. Because of the differences in analysis techniques and datasets, the agencies do not always agree on where a particular year falls, but this year they are unanimous.
The trend is most important.
Lots of ink will be spilled about how this is the hottest year. If you look at the trend, then this record year should be no surprise at all. It is simply confirmation.
Even though it is in Fahrenheit, I posted the second graph because they highlighted the trend since 1998. They’ve highlighted this because you often see the pseudo-sceptic community and media claim 1998 as a high water mark for global temperature. It is not. The data shows that since 1998 global temperatures have only slightly slowed in their pace to 1.04ºF from 1.14ºF.
World in 21st Century easily warmer even though Canada had a cold winter.
You will also hear that the “top 10” hottest years have all been since 2000 except 1998 (which is now in 4th). I really don’t like this metric because it includes a bunch of tied years. #2 is shared by 2010/2005, #5 by 2013/2003, and #9 by 2007/2009. It’s only 7 separate values ranging from a 0.69ºC anomaly this year down to 0.59ºC anomaly for those tied at #9.
So I thought I’d see if we took the top ten anomalies, rather than years, if the “all 21st century but 1998” still held up. And incredibly, it does.
The 10th highest anomaly is 0.53ºC in 2011. Only 1998 remains in this list as a reminder of a cooler century.
Incredibly, 12 of the 14 years in this century so far are in the top 10 for highest temperatures recorded for the globe. Only 2000 and 2008 at #14 and #12 respectively, are missing.
So don’t let anyone tell you it is somehow not heating up out there. Don’t let anyone tell you that because it is cold here (in fact Canada had its coldest winter since 1996) that we should doubt global warming. This is a global phenomenon. Anyone who says otherwise or tries to deflect or confuse is dangerously misleading.
Year’s warmth hits close to home.
Even though we here in Port Alberni may or may not have the warmest year in our records… the globes record year has been attributed to effects close by.
Despite the lack of an El Niño to raise temperatures (as was the case in 1998) the world’s oceans were the source of the greatest heat to the climate system this year. Land temperatures were actually second warmest, but the oceans were the warmest they’ve ever been, and more than made up for the slightly cooler land masses. From NCDC:
The 2014 global average ocean temperature was also record high, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.1°C (60.9°F), breaking the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.05°C (0.09°F).
In 2014, the warmth was due to large regions of record warm and much warmer-than-average temperatures in parts of every major ocean basin. Record warmth for the year was particularly notable in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in and around the Gulf of Alaska, much of the western equatorial Pacific, parts of the western North Atlantic and western South Atlantic, and much of the Norwegian and Barents Seas.
You can see the past year’s sea surface temperatures in an animation courtesy the University of Washington. The most recent imagery shows plenty of warmer than normal water remains parked off our coast.
This should cause concern for our ‘cold water’ fish and other species who enjoy and depend on the cool waters of the North East Pacific as they migrate to and from our local areas.
It can only be us.
Have you been struck by lightning lately? Bit by a shark? Won the 6-49?
According to research published in September by Climate Risk Management the odds of temperatures being so high without human influence are less than 1 in 100,000. You have a far better chance (1 in 1033) of getting 4 of 6 numbers on the 6-49. From the study:
Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.
Can we stop arguing about this now? We are the problem. This is not “natural”. And since we are the problem, we can and must also be the solution.