Scientists react to warmest year: 2014 underscores ‘undeniable fact’ of human-caused climate change

In 134 years of temperature records, the warmth in 2014 exceeded them all, NOAA and NASA announced today.

Unsurpassed heating of the world’s oceans fueled the chart-topping warmth.

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.

Related: It’s official: 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history(Washington Post Wonk Blog)

Land temperatures weren’t quite record-setting, but still ranked 4th warmest since the start of the data set in 1880. California, much of Europe, including the United Kingdom, and parts of Australia all experienced their warmest years.

News of record global warmth may surprise residents of the eastern U.S., which witnessed colder than normal temperatures in 2014. But the chill was an anomaly and, in fact, the eastern U.S. was among the coolest areas of the world compared to normal.

In NOAA’s analysis of global temperatures, 7 of 12 months in 2014 reached record highs, including December.

Thirteen of the warmest 15 years on record have occurred since the year 2000 according to Climate Central, a non-profit science communications organization based in Princeton, New Jersey. The likelihood of this happening by chance, with the assistance of manmade greenhouse emissions, is less than 1 in 27 million, it calculated.

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