Monday, October 20, 2014

Hot News:  2014 on Track to Become Warmest Year

The amount that temperatures around the world departed from the 1981-2010 average in September 2014 (in degrees Celsius).  (Credit: NOAA) Click to enlarge.
Fueled by the steady rise of greenhouse gases, 2014 is on track to go down as the hottest year on record.

With September 2014 in the books as the warmest September on record and the year-to-date temperatures tying with 1998 and 2010 as the warmest January-September, the National Climatic Data Center announced Monday that 2014 will likely break the record for the warmest year on the books.

Back in August, the year ranked as the third warmest on record.  The jump this month came “because we keep seeing record warm months or near-record warm months,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with ERT, Inc., at the NCDC.

In fact, leaving aside calendar years, the period from October 2013 through September 2014 “is the warmest 12-month period that we’ve ever had on record,” Blunden told Climate Central.

All but one of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century (1998, when there was a very strong El NiƱo, is the exception).  Earth’s steadily rising temperatures are the result of the buildup of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the planet’s atmosphere.  These gases cause the atmosphere to warm, and a large chunk of that warmth is absorbed by the world’s oceans.

Those oceans, particularly the northeastern and equatorial Pacific, are largely what is fueling this record, Blunden said.  Because temperatures in the oceans are slow to change, it is likely that warmth will hang around through the end of the year.  That means that the odds “are pretty good” that 2014 will top 2010 as the warmest year on record, she said.

Hot News:  2014 on Track to Become Warmest Year

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