NOAA will announce today that 2014 was the warmest year during the instrumental record, which begins in 1880. The announcement, which addresses findings of both NOAA and NASA, will be made today at 11:00 Eastern. Below is the press release from NOAA.
Michael Mann has made the following statements regarding this news:
2014 Was Earth’s Warmest Year On Record
Three major climate organizations (JMA, NASA, and NOAA) have now released their official estimates for the 2014 Global Mean Surface Temperature. Both JMA and NOAA conclude that 2014 was substantially higher, i.e. outside the margin of error, of previous contenders (1998, 2005, and 2010) while NASA finds 2014 to be warmest, but within the margin of error of 2005 and 2010 (i.e. a “statistical tie”).
Based on the collective reports, it is therefore fair to declare 2014 the warmest year on record. This is significant for a number of reasons. Unlike past record years, 2014 broke the record without the "assist" of a large El Niño event. There was only the weakest semblance of an El Niño and tropical Pacific warmth contributed only moderately to the record 2014 global temperatures. Viewed in context, the record temperatures underscore the undeniable fact that we are witnessing, before our eyes, the effects of human-caused climate change. It is exceptionally unlikely that we would be seeing a record year, during a record warm decade, during a multidecadal period of warmth that appears to be unrivaled over at least the past millennium, were it not for the rising levels of planet-warming gases produced by fossil fuel burning.
The record temperatures *should* put to rest the absurd notion of a “pause" (what I refer to as the “Faux Pause” in Scientific American in global warming. There is a solid body of research now showing that any apparent slow-down of warming during the past decade was likely due to natural short-term factors (like small changes in solar output and volcanic activity) and internal fluctuations related to e.g. the El Nino phenomenon. The record 2014 temperatures underscore the fact that global warming and associated climate changes continue unabated as we continue to raise the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The Press Release
NOAA: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record
December 2014 record warm; Global oceans also record warm for 2014
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2014 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA scientists. The December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was also the highest on record.
This summary from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.
In an independent analysis of the data also released today, NASA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.
- The 2014 temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest five miles of the atmosphere) was third highest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.50°F (0.28°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), and sixth highest on record, at 0.29°F (0.16°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).
- The 2014 temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly two miles to six miles above the surface) was third highest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.32°F (0.18°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and sixth highest on record, at 0.25°F (0.14°C) above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS.
- The temperature for the lower stratosphere (roughly 10 miles to 13 miles above the surface) was 13th lowest in the 1979-2014 record, at 0.56°F (0.31°C) below the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH, and also 13th lowest on record, at 0.41°F (0.23°C) below the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. The stratospheric temperature is decreasing on average while the lower and middle troposphere temperatures are increasing on average, consistent with expectations in a greenhouse-warmed world.
According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average annual Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during 2014 was 24.95 million square miles, and near the middle of the historical record. The first half of 2014 saw generally below-normal snow cover extent, with above-average coverage later in the year.
Recent polar sea ice extent trends continued in 2014. The average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was 10.99 million square miles, the sixth smallest annual value of the 36-year period of record. The annual Antarctic sea ice extent was record large for the second consecutive year, at 13.08 million square miles.
A more complete summary of climate conditions and events can be found at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/13
As pointed out to me by a friend, Dr. Mann says that NOAA put the temperature increase at outside the margin of error, but the press release from NOAA says the increase was .04C. According to the Daily Mail's recent "gotcha!" press release, the margin of error is .1 C
Dan that may or may not be correct, but why are you using a discredited source (the Daily Mail) to refer to a piece of data put out by a scientific agency, rather than the original?
Greg I don't disagree and believe me - I have no desire whatsoever to help deniers out - especially when it comes to anything that reflects on Dr. Mann - but also can't ignore a contradiction, especially as the deniers will inevitably catch it anyway (my friend did, and I'd say he's on the spectrum). Honestly I don't know where to look to find out the margin of error, but the Daily Mail number seems credible, in spite of what a crappy source they generally are!
Greg no argument there. The last thing I want to do is help out deniers - especially with anything relating to Dr. Mann! But if my friend caught this, others certainly will, so I just want to know if he's right and how to respond. I know the DM is a crap source, but their number seems reasonable and don't know where else to look to find the margin of error.
(Apologies for the double post - please delete one version, as I originally thought the posting had failed)
Dan, it depends on how you define "margin of error" - Gavin Schmidt has a discussion on this on Realclimate.org.
Note that if you follow the approach of the Daily Mail, we have likely only had one "hottest year" (compared to prior years) in the past 150 years - 1998. All the other years are purely based on probabilities not warmer than the prior hottest year