SEVEN CLIMATE RECORDS BROKEN IN 2014.
1. Hottest Year: Records for the hottest temperature were set around the world
with the highest average global surface temperature since
record-keeping began, according to four separate analyses. Records were
shattered everywhere. Europe and Mexico had their warmest years ever,
while Argentina and Uruguay had their second hottest years and Australia
its third warmest after enduring all-time record heat in 2013. Africa
and Asia also had above-average temperatures.
2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Driving
those temperature increases were all the major heat-trapping greenhouse
gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, which
reported record high atmospheric concentrations. Carbon levels at Mauna
Loa stayed above 400 ppm
from April through June, and globally the average was 397.2ppm. Methane
concentrations rose as well, with an increase that’s bigger than the
average annual increase of the past decade.
3. Sea Surface Temperature: The average sea surface temperature globally was the highest on record,
with especially warm temperatures in the western Atlantic and central
and northeast Pacific. While this didn’t drive an El Niño event in 2014,
scientists expect one to arrive in 2015.
4. Ocean Temperature: The heat
content of the ocean’s waters also set a record, reflecting the fact
that the oceans absorb more than 90 percent of the heat trapped in the
Earth’s atmosphere by greenhouse gases. As greenhouse gases rise,
therefore, so do ocean temperatures.
5. Sea Level Rise: Sea levels are
setting records too. Sea levels are now about 67 millimeters, or about
2.6 inches, higher than they were in 1993. Factors contribution to this
rise include the melting of glaciers and other sea ice, the fact that
water expands as it warms and melting land ice flowing out to sea.
6. Greenland Ice Melt: The Greenland
ice sheet was above average in its rate for melt for 90 percent of the
regular melt season. It hit a record low for August in how much of the
sun’s energy is reflected off its surface. Melting darkens the ice
sheet’s surface, making it less able to reflect the sun’s energy.
7. Antarctic Ice Melt: Antarctic sea ice set a different record—for highest sea ice extent,
which has broken records three years running. One possible reason for
that is changing wind patterns, scientists say. Without land to block it
as in the Arctic, ice near land blows out to sea, exposing open water,
which then freezes. While it might sound counterintuitive to the idea of
a warming planet, it’s indicative of potentially climate change-driven