2014 named hottest year on record

New data has revealed that 14 of the 15 hottest years have all been this century, with 2014 named the warmest on record by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Average global air temperatures over land and sea surface in 2014 were 0.57 degrees Celsius above the long-term average of 14.00 degrees Celsius for the period between 1961 and 1990, according to WMO calculations.

The results form part of a dataset showing that 14 of the 15 hottest years have all been this century.

WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said: “The overall warming trend is more important than the ranking of an individual year. Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years have all been this century.”

He added that WMO expected global warming to continue, given that rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the increasing heat content of the oceans were committing the world to a warmer future.

Around 93 per cent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activities ends up in the oceans, so their heat content is key to understanding the climate system. Global sea-surface temperatures reached record levels in 2014.

Strong weather and climate services are now more necessary than ever to increase resilience to disasters and help countries and communities adapt to a fast changing and less hospitable climate, added Mr Jarraud.

WMO released the global temperature analysis in advance of climate change negotiations to be held in Geneva from 8th to 13th February.

The analysis is based, among others, on three complementary datasets maintained by the Hadley Centre of the UK’s Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre; and the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Photo credit: Let’s Go Out Bournemouth/ CC BY 2.0

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