Breaking Climate News: The Hottest Year Ever

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Climate news: 2014 was the hottest year ever
By Greg Laden

On Friday, NASA and NOAA are expected to announce that 2014 was the hottest year on record.

I talked to Green Diva Meg and Green Diva Lynn on this special Green Divas myEARTH360 Report to help to disseminate and explain some of the latest statistics coming out about climate change gathered in 2014. Listen to the podcast then read on for more…

I had been planning to write an extensive blog post going into all sorts of details about how that works, how they calculate it, etc. But then the people at Climate Nexus wrote a post that would have blown mine out of the water with the detail and information provided in it. Read this excellent post here: 2014: Putting The Hottest Year Ever in Perspective.

More than one new paper has come out describing new work on melting glaciers, especially in the Antarctic. One of the papers is described by an author, John Abraham, in this blog post: The Antarctic ice sheet is a sleeping giant, beginning to stir. You can get to the original paper via a link in that blog post. Bottom line is that the polar ice sheets are melting faster and faster every time someone looks. There is also some interesting stuff about melting glaciers, gravity, and sea level rise. Very much worth a look.

There is also a new sea level rise curve. I’ve not looked at this so I have no comments on it, but you can see a write up here: A new sea level curve.

The first in a series of predictions for the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane seasons has come out: 2015 Hurricane Zone Predictions: Stronger Season with Three U.S. Hot Spots. Bottom line is that it will be a pretty average hurricane season, which, in turn, means more hurricanes and more severe hurricanes than during the last few years, which have been rather anemic. Which, by the way, is probably a side effect of climate change.

There’s been some recent work confirming some earlier work, suggesting that a lot of “small” volcanoes have created a lot of dust contributing to cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere, slowing greenhouse gas caused warming. Despite what at least one of these items says, we are now pretty sure that most of the surface temperature slowdown is because most of that heat is going into the ocean (see this), but volcanic dust has also made a contribution (as has the sun, being in a somewhat weak phase).

So there are two things you should have a look at: Volcanoes may be responsible for most of the global surface warming slowdown and Small volcanic eruptions explain warming hiatus. Imma go out on a limb and guess that a little over 50 percent of the lack of warming (though it is warming, just slower) is from the ocean taking in more heat, the next biggest contribution is the volcanic dust, and a smaller but still two digit percentage (maybe) is from the sun. Feel free to challenge me on those numbers but do so with evidence please. I’ll be happy to see that estimate refined.

A climate change video worth watching…

Richard Muller became the darling of the climate denial community a few years ago when he made a number of statements questioning the integrity of climate scientists and science.

Since then, his own studies have (re)confirmed the rise in global temperature, and the cause, – human generated carbon dioxide.

Take Action:

Read my post What We Can Do About Climate Change, then tell your governor to help curb climate change through this NRDC petition.


Listen to this full episode of The Green Divas Radio Show, which includes my previous conversation with Green Diva Meg about climate change…

greg ladenGreg Laden is a biological anthropologist and science communicator, who writes for His research has covered North American prehistoric and historic archaeology and African archaeology and human ecology. He is an OpenSource and OpenAccess advocate. Greg’s wife, Amanda, is a High School biology teacher, his daughter Julia is a world traveler and his son Huxley is 2. You can follow Greg on twitter @gregladen.


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    Brittney January 16, 2015 at 8:47 am -  Reply

    2014 was indeed a very hot year so I can only imagine the drastic changes it had on the environment. As temperatures continue to rise higher in 2015, it will be interesting to see what affect it has on the environment. Melting ice caps always tends to terrify people, so I hope everyone remains calm this year.

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