On a dangerously cold morning like Wednesday in Kansas City, it’s hard to imagine that the year that ended just a week ago has officially been dubbed the hottest year on record.
The ranking comes from the Japan Meteorological Agency, the first of four major global temperature record-keepers to release statistics on 2014, the Scientific American website reports. Human activity, including burning fossil fuels, has contributed to the warming of the planet. The average temperature of the Earth has continued its upward climb since 1891.
The website reports that the top 10 hottest years have been since 1998. The average temperature in 2014 was 1.1 degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, the Japan Meteorological Agency data show. That puts it about 0.1 degree Fahrenheit above 1998, the previous record high year.
“One big difference between 2014 and 1998 is that the latter was on the tail end of a super El Niño, which has the tendency to spike temperatures. In comparison, 2014 was the year of the almost El Niño.
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“Instead, record warmth in other parts of the Pacific as well as the hottest year on record in Europe were some of the main drivers in fueling the heat. Joe Romm of Climate Progress also notes that heat in Australia early in the year and California’s hottest year further contributed to the heat.”
Think about that, the continued melting of glaciers and Arctic ice, the rising sea levels swamping beaches, extreme droughts, more forest fires and severe weather as the cutting wind from the north rips through Kansas City and the temperature on Wednesday drops to zero and below.
It just doesn’t seem real.