It looks as though 2014 will qualify as the hottest year on record. This is noteworthy in the context of the string of record breaking heat in recent decades. This decade was warmer than last, which was warmer than the previous decade. With fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record having occurred in the 21st century, the trend clearly points to a warming world.
The observation that 2014 will be the warmest year in recorded history is confirmed by reports from World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the U.K.’s Met Office and NOAA. We set global average heat records on average every five years, first in 2005 then in 2010 and now in 2014. According to data from NASA, NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency, global average heat records were set in the months of August, September and October of 2014.
The cause of this record breaking heat is human activity, specifically climate change causing carbon emissions. We have not seen current levels of atmospheric carbon (approaching 400 ppm) for millions of years.
The oceans are far warmer than usual and according to a WMO report, this extends down to a depth of 2,300 and 6,500 feet. A warmer atmosphere and hotter oceans are known to cause highly destructive extreme weather. The WMO reports that record ocean temperatures contributed to record high global average sea levels. In addition to causing the seas to rise sea, carbon is absorbed by the oceans leading to deadly acidification.
The unavoidable reality is that the earth will continue to warm. Even if we were to stop emitting carbon today a certain amount of warming is “baked into” the climate system.
To make matters worse, the coming year is likely to be even hotter than this one. According to Australian Bureau of Meteorology models, an El Niño effect will make 2015 even warmer than 2014.
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