This will make little difference, we suspect, in the ongoing debate on climate change. The drip, drip, drip of facts long ago ceased to matter in this debate.
But facts they are, the scientists said today, according to the New York Times.
In the annals of climatology, 2014 now surpasses 2010 as the warmest year in a global temperature record that stretches back to 1880. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human emissions and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and to the natural world.
Of the large inhabited land areas, only the eastern half of the United States recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, a sort of mirror image of the unusual heat in the West. Some experts think the stuck-in-place weather pattern that produced those extremes in the United States is itself an indirect consequence of the release of greenhouse gases, though that is not proven.
“Why do we keep getting so many record-warm years?” Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “It’s because the planet is warming. The basic issue is the long-term trend, and it is not going away.”
This is what the planet looked like.
If you are younger than 30 years old, you have never lived in a year that was below the 20th century average temperature on the planet.
What does it all mean? The Washington Post posed the question today to 20 scientists.
“The fact that NOAA rated 2014 as the warmest year on record should put to rest the bogus idea often espoused by climate change deniers that ‘global warming stopped in 1998,’” the head of meteorology at Weather Underground said. “Based on the evidence, more than 97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that humans are primarily responsible for the warming of the planet to the record levels observed in 2014.”
“I think it is a mistake to focus on single years, whether they be cold or hot. Other than that, I have no particular opinion,” said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.