Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 shaping up to be warmest year on record; next year could be even warmer

The past 12 months have been the hottest year-long time period on record, and 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, Seth Borenstein reports for The Associated Press. If 2014 is the hottest year on record—records have been kept since 1880—it would mark the sixth time since 1995 that the yearly record has been broken.

Through September the average temperature has been 58.72 degrees, tying 1998 for the hottest first nine months of the year, Borenstein writes. The past five months—May, June, July, August and September—were the hottest months on record for those respective months.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist Jessica Blunden said an impending El Nino is the reason this year could be the hottest on record, Borenstein writes. "In 1998, the year started off super-hot because of an El Nino. But then that El Nino disappeared, and temperatures moderated slightly toward the end of the year. This year has no El Nino yet, but forecasts for the rest of the year show a strong chance that one will show up and that weather will be warmer than normal, Blunden said."

"If Earth sets a record for heat in 2014, it probably won't last, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for the private firm Weather Underground," Borenstein writes. "If there is an El Nino, Masters said, 'next year could well bring Earth's hottest year on record, accompanied by unprecedented regional heat waves and droughts.'" (Read more) (NOAA map)

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