The year 2014 was the warmest since recording the planetary temperature began in 1880, according to an analysis by scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. And nine out of the 10 hottest years since those records began happened after 2000. The trend continues a long-term warming of the planet. Global warming is real.
In a separate analysis of the same data, also released today, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record for Earth. It was the 34th warmest year for the contiguous U.S, and eight major weather and climate disasters caused more than $1 billion in damages.
From the NASA announcement:
"NASA is at the forefront of the scientific investigation of the dynamics of the Earth's climate on a global scale," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity."
Since 1880, Earth's average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet's atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades.
"This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades. While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases," said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt.
While 2014 temperatures continue the planet's long-term warming trend, scientists still expect to see year-to-year fluctuations in average global temperature caused by phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña. These phenomena warm or cool the tropical Pacific and are thought to have played a role in the flattening of the long-term warming trend over the past 15 years. However, 2014's record warmth occurred during an El Niño-neutral year.
NOAA's take on the analysis is here.
The data set of 2014 surface temperature measurements is available here.
Here is the methodology used to make the temperature calculation.
More information about NASA's Earth science activities here.