NASA and NOAA confirm it: 2014 was the hottest year on record (since 1880)
The Japanese Meteorological Agency was the first to release its temperature numbers for the past year, and it found that 2014 was actually the hottest year on record (despite the polar vortex that engulfed North-America last winter). But that was just one agency's work - it's always good to have independent confirmation, right? What if they made a mistake, ask the 'climate skeptics'...
Well, the U.S. agencies (NASA and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center) have now released their numbers, and they confirm it: 2014 was the hottest year since records began 135 years ago. In fact, it's the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the yearly global temperature was above average!
Here's the updated top 10 warmest years on record:
As you can see, they're all from after 2000 except for 1998, which had a particularly brutal El Nino cycle, which tends to retain more heat.
In 2014, the annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F).
The 2014 global average ocean temperature was also record high, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average of 16.1°C (60.9°F), breaking the previous records of 1998 and 2003 by 0.05°C (0.09°F).
The 2014 global average land surface temperature was 1.00°C (1.80°F) above the 20th century average of 8.5°C (47.3°F), the fourth highest annual value on record.
Precipitation measured at land-based stations around the globe was near average on balance for 2014, at 0.52 mm below the long-term average. However, as is typical, precipitation varied greatly from region to region (for example, California is going through a historic drought).
Bloomberg has a great animation that allows you to go through 135 years in just a few moments, giving you a great visualization of what has been happening since we've been pumping so much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere: