Global temperature anomaly during the month of November 2014, compared to the average from 1951-1980.
This year is almost certain to become the warmest year the planet has had since instrument records began, and very likely for at least 4,000 years before that.
Even though November was tied with 2008 as only the seventh-warmest such month on record, global average surface temperatures are 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit above average. That makes it virtually certain that the year will still eclipse 2005 and 1998 — the previous record holders — to win the crown.
According to Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina, December's global average temperature would have to suddenly drop nearly out of the top 20 warmest Decembers in order for 2014 not to be the warmest year in his center's data set.
Other records kept at NASA, the Japan Meteorological Agency and in the UK confirm the year's unusual warmth so far, although each center's ranks may be slightly different in the end.
These charts, contained in a report released Monday, show how unusual 2014 is compared to average, and also drive home the fact that 14 out of the 15 warmest years have all occurred since the year 2000.
This year keeps up the long-term global warming trend
The warmth in 2014 has largely been driven by the oceans, which again were record-breakingly warm for the month, continuing a streak of records that have been toppled during the past several months.
Regarding the record warm oceans, Arndt told Mash that parts of every major ocean basin are at all-time highs: "It’s pretty pervasive around the globe. It truly is a global phenomenon this year.”
The lack of an El Niño event, which features higher than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, indicates that it no longer requires such an event to push the planet into a record warm year. The previous record-holders both saw an El Niño event at some point during the year.
In other words, those years had an assist in setting a record, whereas this year we're accomplishing it without a major push from natural climate variability.
However, record warm ocean temperatures in the northeast Pacific are likely related to shorter-term natural climate cycles, rather than long-term manmade global warming due to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“We’re doing this without the help of an El Niño and I think that’s pretty telling,” Arndt said. The ocean temperatures, along with the global record, is one of many "repeated reminders that we live in a changing world, in a warming world,” he added.
This year is outpacing the top 5 warmest years
Here's what this year looks like compared to every other (HINT: Warmer)
But an individual year is not so important
An individual year is but a blip in Earth's climate history, and the history since the industrial revolution when human activities began adding huge amounts of global warming pollutants into the atmosphere.
What is most telling, though, is that nearly all of the top 15 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000.
Put another way: if you're 14, you've never experienced a non-record warm year.
Tags: CLIMATE, U.S., US & World, WARMEST YEAR, WORLD