2014 Likely to be Hottest Year Ever Measured

According to an article recently published in Scientific American, 2014 is predicted to have the highest recorded temperatures in history. If so, this will mark the 38th consecutive year with an unusually high annual global temperature.

Global temperatures soared to 1.03 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 1961-to-1990 average, according to the annual “Status of the Global Climate,” report published by the World Meteorological Organization. The latest report was released during the U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru. Diplomats gathered to create a new global climate deal that will be signed in Paris next year.

Scientists gather data for the report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the United Kingdom’s Met office to gauge normal average temperatures. Data is typically examined over a 30-year period, usually with metrics from 1961 to 1990.

Oceans Experience Warmest Temperatures in History

Global sea surface temperatures were 0.45 degree Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 normal, while land temperatures were 0.86 degree Celsius above normal. In fact, the Pacific, the polar and subtropical north Atlantic, parts of the south Atlantic and the Indian Ocean all realized the warmest temperatures in history.

Scientists don’t have a reason for the temperature increase in the oceans. Generally speaking, oceans capture most of the global warming, but scientists are still unclear on the meaning. Researchers have determined that the 2014 ocean heat content was similar to that of 2013, which was the warmest since measurements began in 1955.

Water molecules expand and sea levels rise as ocean temperatures get warmer. Early 2014 saw record high sea levels. In total, the average sea level increase has been 3.2 millimeters per year.

Tropical Storms Fall Below Average

In total, only 72 tropical storms have been recorded in 2014 to-date, falling below the 1981 to 2010 average. However, extreme flooding has impacted many regions globally. Flooding in South Africa in March affected more than 4,000 families and 10 people were killed due to flash floods in Kenya in February. Another 250 people were killed and 100,000 displaced in northern Pakistan and India in September due to extreme flooding.

In 2013, CO2 levels in the atmosphere rose to 396 parts per million ─ 142 percent higher than the levels in the 1800s at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Since 2003, a total of 45 percent of the CO2 emitted by humans went into the atmosphere, while the remainder was absorbed by oceans and land.

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