Global Temps | 2014 Warmest Ever

You’ve probably heard or read the news by now that 2014 was the warmest year on record. This related story deserves to be examined.

Senate Votes

yeanayOn Wednesday January 21, the Senate voted on an amendment to legislation concerning the Keystone XL pipeline. The question was whether climate change is a hoax. It was affirmed to be real by a vote of 98 to 1. That sounded encouraging. That was followed by another amendment that stipulated climate change was real and that human activity significantly contributes to climate change. That was defeated. It needed 60 yes votes but got 50, with 49 no votes. All but four Republicans voted no. Those four joined the entire Democratic group. It is astounding to me that such an important question could viewed so differently and along strict party lines. Here is the list of yeas and nays.

According to the Senate, climate change is real, but humans are not responsible for it. The vast majority of the scientists who study this question disagree with what that vote says. Here is a partial list of organizations they represent.

Global Temperatures

This graphic shows the temperature anomaly world-wide for 2014 compared to the baseline average from 1951 to 1980. Dark red is a +4˚C anomaly. Dark blue is a -4˚C anomaly. The only inhabited part of the world with large population centers that was cooler than average was the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada. Alaska, of all places, was the warmest anomaly. A 4˚C anomaly equates to a 7.2˚F anomaly.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Long Term Trend

Since 1950, measurements show how the Earth’s temperatures have changed. The scale for darkest orange is +0.5˚C per decade. Land areas in the northern hemisphere, especially the arctic, have the largest increases. Light blue in some ocean regions show a very slight decrease in temperatures.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

This trend can be seen graphically in the following. The black line is the trend for all data between 1950 – 2014. El Niño and La Niña year trends are in red and blue respectively. They show the same long-term trends, only slightly warmer or cooler than each other.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Who Says This Is Happening?

Four major institutions reported the same findings using different baseline periods and their own methods to estimate global temperatures. NASA and NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom all came up with similar records. This chart, which begins in 1880, shows the close match of the overlapping plot lines. All of the peaks and valleys match. The warmest records are in the recent decades since 1980.

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies


From Why So Many Global Temperature Records?
January 21st, 2015 by Adam Voiland…

…the difference between the hottest and the second hottest or the 10th hottest and 11th hottest year on any of these records is vanishingly small. The more carefully you look at graph (above), the more you’ll start to appreciate that the individual ranking of a given year hardly even matters. It’s the longer term trends that matter.



26 thoughts on “Global Temps | 2014 Warmest Ever

  1. This is incredibly disheartening, almost taking me to tears. That we have so many in such powerful “leadership” positions who DO NOT BELIEVE in science, incredible. On the other side of the incredible/tears dial was the program we watched the other evening about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson particle. I was so moved at the ferocity of those involved, willing to try one approach after another, following the SCIENCE in a path of experimentation. And what did they find? A basis for more science. ALL our knowledge is based on that learned by others who’ve gone before. And here we have a body of legislators who deny science to the extent that they make fools of themselves, and of the bigger us for having voted them into office. I could go on…

    • There are so many stories like those who worked with the collider. So many of them were laying the groundwork at other facilities like Fermilab, Stanford, etc. Understanding how nature works is one reward. Knowing our own impact upon nature is an essential part of that, too.

      Science leads to more science.

  2. Why does it matter? (Yes, going on here…) Because these legislators, as incompetent as they are, determine where resources are allocated. If they believe humans don’t contribute to climate change (or if they are paid to vote as if they believe that,) then heck! why budget to solve the problem? If we didn’t make the problem, surely some other power (god?) did, and we sure don’t wanna go against the big guy! Or at the least, if humans don’t contribute to it, we can’t fix it so why bother trying?

    Anti-science? How about the anti-vaxxers who went to Disneyland, leading to at least 50 cases of measles? Idiots…

  3. I think the they won’t admit human responsibility because in doing do they might jeopardize the pipeline project which they really want to push through…so they lie and vote against their conscience. They probably don’t sleep well at night.

  4. Great post, Jim. When I look into the eyes of a Republican and ask them about this, I marvel. Do they really believe this isn’t happening? I don’t write that to pick on Republicans. I just wonder that a group of people would be so stubbornly resistant to facts.

    • There certainly is a lot going on under the surface to make one group be so unified in the face of such definitive evidence to those who know better.

      That was a messy sentence structure. I hope you got the point. 🙂

  5. What a farce to even vote on this — it just seemed like spectacle to me. A public relations exercise. So now we know the ‘good’ guys and the ‘bad’ guys? How about some real action, some real changes. I wasn’t even going to follow the story but then my husband told me the results. Like Melanie the whole thing left me feeling disheartened nearly to tears. And that I suppose was the real aim. I was listening to a Chomsky talk (sorry don’t have the link) and he mentioned that polls indicate Americans are feeling ‘helpless’ at record rates. It will sound radical but I think this state of learned helplessness is being deliberately cultivated. It is one thing to take away a people’s rights as the Patriot Act has done but if you can get people to give up their will to change then the job is complete — an elite with absolute power.

  6. It is a big problem when science enters on the political agenda. Then the whole problem becomes politicized, and loses its ability to be openly disputed without any popularity polls being involved. People become confused, and do not work to protect their own life environments, based on false advices politicians give them. Obviously, we have come to a point when a senator with no knowledge of physics, climate, or atmosphere is to decide whether we are responsible for a climate change. It seems ridiculous to me. And it shows how certain institutions (in this case the political ones) work on encroachment of others (scientific).

    • Not only science and politics are adversaries. It seems everything is thrown into the grinder. It has turned into a them-against-us scenario no matter what the issue. I always felt it was best to call on the true experts in various fields for advice. Not the case any more in politics. Truly disappointing.

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