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US Agencies: 2014 Hottest Year on Record


Melting blocks of ice float near the Pastoruri glacier in Huaraz, Peru, Dec. 4, 2014.
Melting blocks of ice float near the Pastoruri glacier in Huaraz, Peru, Dec. 4, 2014.

The year 2014 was the hottest since 1880, when record-keeping began, according two independent analyses that U.S. scientists provided Friday.

An analysis of the Earth’s surface temperature by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York put 2014's average temperature at 14.68 degrees Celsius (58.42 Fahrenheit), 1.22 degrees C above the 20th-century average.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has calculated the average temperature for 2014 to be slightly lower, at 14.52 degrees C.

“NASA is at the forefront of the scientific investigation of the dynamics of the Earth’s climate on a global scale,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington. “The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity.”

NASA said that since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has gone up by about 0.8 degree C, a phenomenon mostly due to the increase in carbon dioxide and other human-caused emissions into the planet’s atmosphere, mostly in the past 30 years.

NOAA said nine of the 10 hottest years in its global records have occurred since 2000, and every year in the 21st century has been in the 20 warmest years on record.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday, “What’s surprising is that anyone is surprised that 2014 was the hottest year on record." He said that "the science has been screaming at us for a long, long time.”

The chief U.S. diplomat said that with greenhouse gas emissions from human activity at an all-time high, Earth is experiencing higher-than-ever occurrences of extreme weather, such as catastrophic droughts, storm surges and torrential rain. He said these events were having devastating economic, security and health impacts across the planet.

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