There were pockets of pure hotness in the United States in 2014. California, for instance, endured an unprecedented drought, worsened by the warmest year in the state since 1934.
Although the United States, overall, had just its 34th-warmest year on record, the rest of the world suffered much more: As climate scientists had been predicting for much of the year, 2014 was the hottest year around the globe since records began being kept in 1880.
As USA Today reported:
The global temperature from 2014 broke the previous record warmest years of 2005 and 2010 …
Two separate data sets of global temperature — from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — confirmed the record. Another data set released last week by the Japan Meteorological Agency also found 2014 was the planet’s warmest.
The average temperature for 2014 was 58.24 degrees globally, 1.24 degrees above the 20th-century average, NOAA said.
(California’s average was 61.5 degrees. Alaska, Nevada and Arizona also had their warmest years on record. Earlier this month, it was announced that Anchorage had exactly zero days of below-zero weather in 2014.)
More USA Today:
“It just shows that human emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, are taking over the Earth’s climate system,” [University of Arizona atmospheric scientist Jonathan] Overpeck said. “The data are clear: The Earth is warming, and humans are causing the bulk of this warming.”
Nine of the 10 warmest years on Earth have now occurred in the 21st century, the data show.
The warming trend was driven by ocean temperatures moreso than land temperatures, which alarms scientists, since there wasn’t even a heat-producing El Nino event.
As The Washington Post reported:
Ocean temperatures were more than 1 F above average, NOAA said. They warmed to a new record even in the absence of an El Niño event, a naturally occurring cycle of ocean heating in the tropical Pacific.
“This is the first year since 1997 that the record warmest year was not an El Niño year at the beginning of the year, because the last three have been,” Gavin Schmidt, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the Post’s Chris Mooney.