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NOAA: With Hottest August On Record, 2014 Takes Aim At Hottest Year On Record

Last month was the warmest August since records began being kept in 1880, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Thursday. NOAA also projected out scenarios for the rest of the year making clear that 2014 is going to be one of the very hottest years on record — and possibly the hottest.

temperature percentiles

Land and sea surface temperature percentiles in August 2014. Hot spots in red.

As the map shows, the oceans were particularly warm. In fact, ocean warming blew more than one record out of the water:

The August global sea surface temperature was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.4°F). This record high departure from average not only beats the previous August record set in 2005 by 0.08°C (0.14°F), but also beats the previous all-time record set just two months ago in June 2014 by 0.03°C (0.05°F).

No millennial has experienced a below average temperature August, since, as NOAA notes, the last one occurred in 1976!

NOAA also reports that 2014 year-to-date temperatures currently rank as the third warmest on record:


But NOAA adds that of the years depicted in that chart, “The years 2013 and 2014 are the only years on this list not to begin during a mature El Niño event. The years 1998 and 2010, each of which became the warmest year on record at the time, ended the year in a strong La Niña event, as evidenced by the relative fading of global average temperature later in the year.”

But 2014 not only isn’t headed towards a La Niña, it may well end up with a modest El Niño. In any case, temperatures are not likely to fade as they did at the end of 1998 and 2010. That gives 2014 a chance at moving up to ultimately ending higher than the third warmest year on record.

Indeed, NOAA plots out several scenarios in the chart below whereby 2014 could become the hottest year on record (click to enlarge):


Stay tuned. Mother nature is just getting warmed up — thanks to human activity.

Joseph Romm's picture

Thank Joseph for the Post!

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Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on September 21, 2014


September is running hot so far.

I like to watch the the numbers and the maps on the climate re-analyzer web site to get a feel for how the climate system works.

It seems we may have a El Nino “Modoki” rather than a classic El Nino — warm water in the central Pacific rather than the east.

In any case, the sea surface anomaly is huge off the coast of Alaska and in the north Atlantic. I would think that as the air cools, it will pick up some of that heat, and moisture with it.

If that SST anomoly is what caused the tough winter in North America last year,  this year will be bad too.

The other thing that becomes very apparent on the re-analyzer site is that most of the warming is in the north. The slower rise in the southern hemisphere dilutes the dramatic change in the north. It is the change in the Arctic that will have the biggest impact on weather, and that is where the carbon bombs are in the form of permafrost and methane clathrates.


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