UN weather agency: 2014 on track for hottest year

December 3, 2014 byKarl Ritter
Strong waves hit the coast off the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion in June. Meteorologists have voiced alarm at the high temperatures of much of the ocean surface

With temperature data showing 2014 currently tied for the hottest year on record, the U.N. weather agency on Wednesday rejected claims that global warming has paused.

The World Meteorological Organization said the global average temperature in January-October was 0.57 Celsius (1.03 Fahrenheit) above average, the same as in record hot year 2010.

The ocean temperature set a new record in the nine-month period, while land temperatures were the fourth or fifth highest since record-keeping began in the 19th century, the WMO said in a report released at U.N. climate talks in Lima and at its headquarters in Geneva.

"The provisional information for 2014 means that 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century," WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement. "There is no standstill in global warming."

Climate skeptics point to a perceived hiatus in the temperature rise since 1998, an exceptionally hot year, to support their claims that man-made warming is not a big problem. Most climate scientists reject that idea. Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University said the long-term warming trend is combined with natural variations that tend to be cyclical, with a period of lower-than-average warming followed by a period of rapid warming.

"Whether such a period is about to begin, we cannot say but the warm 2014 is a reminder that the warming never stopped and the long term trend is up, up, up," Oppenheimer said.

Graphic showing the rise in air temperature over land and sea since 1950

Parts of the planet were cooler than average, including large areas of the U.S., Canada and central Russia. But most of the world experienced temperatures above average, with heat waves in South Africa, Australia and Argentina in January and in large parts of South America in October, according to the WMO assessment, which was based on two global data sets from the U.S. and one from Europe.

Ocean temperatures were particularly high in the northern hemisphere from June to October.

"Around 93 percent of the excess energy trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and other human activities ends up in the oceans. Therefore, the heat content of the oceans is key to understanding the climate system," the WMO said.

While scientists are now 95 percent certain that the temperature rise since the middle of the 20th century is mostly man-made, they can't say with the same confidence how the warming affects different parts of the climate system, including the frequency of tropical storms or hurricanes.

By Nov. 13 there had been 72 tropical storms, well below the average of 89.

Arctic sea ice shrunk to the sixth lowest level on record in September, while Antarctic sea ice grew to a record extent for the third straight year.

The concentration in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas, rose to a new high of 396 parts per million last year, the WMO said, 42 percent above the level before the industrial revolution, when people started burning fossil fuels for energy.

Figures for 2014 were not yet ready.

In Lima, delegates from more than 190 countries are trying to lay the groundwork for a global emissions pact that's planned to be adopted next year. Divisions between rich and poor countries have slowed the negotiations over the years, but a U.S.-China emissions deal last month has injected new hope into the talks.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said temperature data added urgency to the talks, but noted that you don't have to be a scientist to realize that the climate is changing.

"Every single one of us can just look out the window, open the door and see the effects of climate change," she said. "Because there is not one country that is exempt."

Explore further: NOAA: Globe sets 5th hottest-month record of 2014

Related Stories

2013 sixth hottest year, UN says (Update)

February 5, 2014

Last year tied for the sixth hottest on record, confirming that Earth's climate system is in the grip of warming that will affect generations to come, the UN's weather agency said Wednesday.

2001-2010 warmest decade on record: WMO

March 23, 2012

Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record.

Recommended for you


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

2.3 / 5 (9) Dec 03, 2014
Yes, look at all the heat related deaths, brown outs, and other obvious effects of a hottest year. Nothing to note.

They must have changed the metrics. The Northern Hemisphere was cool. The Southern Hemisphere... was that where it was warmer? Seems like they are changing metrics, without telling us.

And what I don't see in the article is that the Sun is at a local maximum. It is becoming harder to find this info.... odd.
(It is not a virus, you need to open it with you .jpeg viewer.)

The power of the sun is BY FAR the most important driver, yet it is suspiciously neglected.
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 03, 2014
"The Northern Hemisphere was cool. The Southern Hemisphere... was that where it was warmer?"

Perhaps you did not notice the record high temperatures in Brazil, or the heat-related deaths in Australia while you were freezing last Winter.

1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2014
No, can you do better than bats? How do you know it was the heat causing them to get sick? It may be heat + a virus.

And again, the Sun is at a local max, so a hot Australia is hardly unexpected. If I wanted to be smug, I could say that since H2O is up 435ppm, that implies the GH effect on the Earth 128x what it was. So naturally it is warmer. The other bits in the article are only, interesting factoids. True, but relevant? CO2, according to my meter, seems to be down 10-20ppm, certainly not in line with Al Gore's predictions. And by way of persistence, people gloss over that CO2 changes daily.

The Sun is at a local max. It should be hot, this article omits the most important factor. Pourquois?
3 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2014
If you tell the same lie over and over, eventually people will buy it. That's the theory, anyhow. :-)
1 / 5 (5) Dec 04, 2014
I can't wait for all the land ice to melt and dilute the ocean. The Gulf Stream will shut off, plummeting the world into an ice age that a few quadrillion tons of CO2 can't counteract.
1 / 5 (5) Dec 04, 2014
The uptick in heat is a natural geothermal cycle. What the following says is whether we burn hydrocarbons or they oxidize (burn) in the upper atmosphere, it doesn't matter. CO2 balance is the same. Donald J. Wuebbles and Katharine Hayhoe, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL "The atmosphere is an oxidizing medium. Many environmentally important trace gases are removed from the atmosphere mainly by oxidation: greenhouse gases such as CH4, toxic combustion gases such as CO, agents for stratospheric O3 depletion such as HCFCs, and others. Oxidation in the troposphere is of key importance because the troposphere contains the bulk of atmospheric mass (85%, see section 2.3 ) and because gases are generally emitted at the surface."
Methane has a half-life of twelve (12) years in the atmosphere, before it oxidizes to CO2 and H2O. CO2 is sequestered in biomass and weathering of rocks to form carbonates.
5 / 5 (7) Dec 04, 2014
CO2 is sequestered in biomass and weathering of rocks to form carbonates.

Indeed, but since the levels continue to rise it's not being sequestered at a rate faster than it's being put out. Moot point.

AND since we know for a fact (as in the sky is blue fact) that CO2 traps heat...well that means it's going to get hotter....

See, and I didn't need a multimillion dollar computer model to tell me that...just a brain.
1 / 5 (5) Dec 04, 2014
Modernmystic - I realize the work of Dr. J. Marvin Herndon has been entirely dismissed since he first published in 1992 (competing scientists refuse to peer review him). Fission and fusion are the complementary forces within the Universe. The naturally occuring fission reactors at the core of every planet are caused by the accretion of the heaviest elements (the fissionable Actinides) going to the core and going critcal. Fusion in all stars is due to the fission trigger at the core of the star. As Dr. Herndon describes, the GeoReactor is a Fast Neutron breeder reactor, self-limiting on temperature. As the non-fissionable daughter elements accumulate in the core, they dampen criticality (cooling period). After the non-fissionables thermally diffuse out full criticality re-establishes (warming period). Examining Paleoclimatological data, the full heating / cooling cycle is about nine (9) centuries. The GeoReactor generates all lighter elements. Increased CO2 is entirely due to this.
5 / 5 (6) Dec 04, 2014
The uptick in heat is a natural geothermal cycle. ....

Oh yeah, then where is the hot ground/seabed as evidence of this. If the seabed then warm currents would be rising to raise SST's. Surfacing currents are cold.
5 / 5 (8) Dec 04, 2014
The GeoReactor generates all lighter elements. Increased CO2 is entirely due to this

Let us say for the sake of argument you are correct. How, then, does continuing to stress the system by putting more CO2 into the atmosphere make sense?

This is like being diagnosed with alcoholism and the physician saying your intake of alcohol is irrelevant to the health of your liver...
1 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2014
Forgive me for interrupting, but as I repeatedly say:
The burning of fossil fuels generates about .1% of the Sun's energy. The change in solar output from 11 year solar cycle is about 1%, and it causes noticeable effects on climate.
This .1% is still tremendous, and it is released at the surface of the Earth, where insulating effects are profound, and as thermodynamic "waste heat." This is unlike the Sun's energy; much of it is readily reflected and reradiated as light and above waste-level heat.

How does this effect climate change?
5 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2014
Elsewhere Water_Prophet claimed
They show everything you need to know about why CO2 doesn't work
That is ONLY from Sol to Earth, U miss SO MUCH !

WHY Water_Prophet do U REFUSE to look at absorption/re-radiation of Earth to Space ?

You seem to have a very serious reading/comprehension neglect bias problem !

Please FOCUS on these SIMPLE questions, do U accept:-

1. Your TSI graph ONLY shows Sol to Earth - largely Shortwave (SW) ?

2. Earth converts SW to Longwave radiation (LW) ?

3. Negligible SW is emitted to space ?

SIMPLE logic by way of SUBTRACTION re energy PROVES LW to space is CORE issue !
Water_Prophet, these is a VERY simple issue, WHY do U ignore it & look intellectually feeble ?

Please be GENUINE & smarter & not come across with some form of disability... :-(

I await the clarity of response a real Physical Chemist (PC) can actually muster to this link:-

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.