Is 2014 the hottest year on record?

2014 is set to be the warmest calendar year in recorded human history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Centre revealed in its latest monthly report.

The “combined average temperature” of land and ocean surfaces for September was the highest in recorded history, the report states. Furthermore, October 2013 to September 2014 was the warmest 12-month period ever recorded.

“If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest calendar year on record,” concludes the report.

The NOAA’s findings echo those of NASA, which revealed earlier this month that the last six months were the warmest such period of time ever recorded.

The degree to which these increases in global average temperatures of land and sea recording sites is the result of anthropogenic effects of adding green house gases  to the atmosphere (as opposed to natural causes) is still a contested issue, though there is clear evidence that levels of atmospheric CO2 have been rising at around 3 parts per million (ppm) each year from around 310 ppm in 1960 to around 400 ppm this year. This hockey ‘J’ curve graph of CO2 increase is named the Keeling Curve after Dave Keeling, the originator of atmospheric CO2 measurement who started his research in 1953. (see Scripps Institute  website)

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