2014 was the Earth’s warmest year since records began in 1880, according to reports from federal scientists published Friday.
NOAA stated that 2014’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.24°F above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous warmest year record set by 2005 and 2010.
Looking at the areas separately, the ocean was record warm, while the global land temperature was the fourth warmest.
Further, the 20 warmest years all occurred in the past 20 years, and there have been 38 consecutive years of above-average global temperatures.
“This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades,” stated Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York. “While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases.”
Commenting on the record-breaking year, meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson wrote:
Climate change is already causing significant impacts to people and ecosystems, and these impacts will grow much more severe in the coming years. New research is painting a clearer picture of the tough decisions that lie ahead if we hope to reduce the serious risks that we and our planet face. As we approach the critical negotiations in Paris in December to hammer out a new binding climate change treaty, we should keep in mind that we can choose to take economically sensible steps to lessen the damage of climate change, and the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of action.
This video from NOAA gives a visual image of the Earth’s temperature deviation from the 20th century average:
NASA Goddard offers this video summary of the new findings:
This article originally appeared on Common Dreams.