Scientists confirmed this week that 2014 was the hottest year on record with global temperatures undermining claims from climate deniers that global warming is not a serious threat to civilisation.
Both NOAA and NASA have confirmed last year was the hottest year since the invention of the thermometer; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says temperatures are 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th century average while NASA calculates that 2014’s average temperature was 14.67C, or 0.68C above the average.
The results undermine leading climate denial groups, including Lord Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, who claim that an apparent plateau in global earth surface temperatures is direct proof that global warming has been widely exaggerated.
“2014 wasn't just the hottest year on record but also the 38th year in a row with temperatures higher than the 20th century average,” said Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK.
He continued: “The world’s climate scientists, in one of the most carefully compiled and reviewed documents in scientific history, claim that this trend is man-made, and that we’re heading for a 4 or 5 degree increase this century unless we change course.
“It's time we stopped debating whether climate change is really happening, and focused people's energy, expertise, and ideas on finding the best ways to prevent it.”
Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told the Guardian: “Any one year being a record warm one is not in itself particularly significant, but this is one in a series of record warm years that are driven by the continuing underlying long-term global warming.
“We expect that heat records will continue to get broken – not everywhere and not every year – but increasingly, and that does not bode well for a civilisation that is continuing to add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at an increasing rate.”
“It is not just 2014, but the long-term trend, so we may anticipate further records in the years to come,” Schmidt added.
Nasa released a video this week in which Schmidt blamed changing weather patterns on human activity, and in particular the burning of fossil fuels and its impact on the atmosphere.
If this doesn’t stop, stated Schmidt: “then we will continue to see more warming and records being broken.”
The results continue a worrying trend with 2014 being the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued results last month that predicted 2014 to be the hottest year, alongside the UK’s Met Weather Agency and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Photo: Liam Moloney via Creative Commoms