2014, the Warmest Year on Record!
by Ted Beringer
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2014 was the warmest year on record. For the 134 year period, beginning in 1880 when accurate measurements were first recorded, 2014 eclipsed them all. The NOAA statement on their website reads:
“In 2014, the combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F (0.69°C) above the 20thcentury average, making the year the warmest since records began in 1880. The ocean alone was record warm, while the land alone was fourth warmest. Five months set new records for warmth: May, June, August, September, and December. October tied for record warmest.
The 20 warmest years in the historical record have all occurred in the past 20 years. Except for 1998, the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.”
In the United States, nine western states experienced one of their top ten warmest years; seven states in the midwest and Mississippi Valley experienced one of their top ten coolest years.
Meanwhile the World Wildlife Fund projects serious impacts on several species of wildlife: Polar Bears, marine turtles, American Pika & many species of birds. Polar bears are dealing with reduced sea ice and thickness thereby reducing the time for hunting to fatten up for nursing. Marine turtles are dealing with hotter sand temperatures that impact egg hatching success. Pikas need to move to higher altitudes to find the cool temperatures they require; and, moving up a mountain is inherently space-limiting. Birds of all types will have to deal with shrinking habitat as global warming narrows their inhabitable environmental range.