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2014 is on course to be the hottest year on record

Heat / Chris JL / Flickr 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

3 December 2014 — The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This is largely due to record high global sea surface temperatures, which will very likely remain above normal until the end of the year. High sea temperatures, together with other factors, contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries and extreme drought in others.

“The provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “There is no standstill inglobal warming.”


WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 indicated that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface for January to October was about 0.57° Centigrade above the average of 14.00°C for the 1961-1990 reference period, and 0.09°C above the average for the past ten years (2004-2013).

If November and December maintain the same tendency, then 2014 will likely be the hottest on record, ahead of 2010, 2005 and 1998. This confirms the underlying long-term warming trend. It is important to note that differences in the rankings of the warmest years are a matter of only a few hundredths of a degree, and that different data sets show slightly different rankings.


“What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere,” he said.

The provisional statement was published to inform the annual climate change negotiations taking place in Lima, Peru. The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima (1-12December) started on Monday and is expected to lay the foundation for an effective new, universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretaryof the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “Our climate is changing and every year the risks of extreme weather events and impacts on humanity rise. Fortunately our political climate is changing too with evidence that governments, supported by investors, business and cities are moving towards a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris 2015.”


Photos: 1) Kevin Dooley Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)2.) Michel Jarraud of WMO. UN/Kim Haughton 3.) NASA Goddard/ Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) 4.) Opening of Lima Cop. UNFCCC

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