climate change

2014 is the hottest year on record

On Monday, the MET Office confirmed the news that 2014 was the hottest year on record in Britain. It was also the warmest year on the world’s oldest temperature record, the Central England Temperature series that has been kept since 1659.

Different agencies compile their data and announce their results at different times, but 19 European countries are expected to call 2014 as the hottest year so far. Elsewhere, new heat records were broken in Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, while Australia and South Africa experienced notable heat waves.

Globally, the World Meteorological Organisation found 2014 to be the hottest year on record in their preliminary results, and these were confirmed by the Japan Meteorological Association this week. NOAA and others are likely to agree once they’ve finished crunching the numbers.

jma global temperatures

The five hottest years on record would then look like this:

  1.  2014
  2. 1998
  3. a tie between 2013 and 2010
  4.  2005

With 2014 quite clearly on top, we can finally bury the idea that global warming stopped in 1998. It was always a spurious argument if you know how to read a trend line, and looking at temperatures by decade made that perfectly clear. The new record should make the reality of warming a whole lot more obvious, though we are an imaginative species, and never more so than when we are deluding ourselves.

The warmest year on record, hot on the heels of the biggest year on year increase in CO2 emissions in 2013, is bad news. But 2015 is a critical year for the climate, and if the new record serves to focus our minds, it might be good news too.


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