Earth's 7th Warmest November Puts 2014 on Pace to be Warmest Year on Record: NOAA

By Dr. Jeff Masters
Published: 5:47 PM GMT on December 15, 2014

November 2014 was the seventh warmest November on record, and the year-to-date-period January - November was Earth's warmest such period since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Monday. NASA rated November 2014 as the 8th warmest November on record. November ended a 3-month streak with record warm monthly temperatures—August, September, and October 2014 were all the warmest such months on record. Global ocean temperatures during November 2014 were the warmest on record. This marks the seventh month in a row (beginning in May 2014) that the global ocean temperature broke its monthly temperature record. Global land temperatures in November 2014 were the 13th warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in November 2014 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 8th or 2nd warmest in the 36-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively.

Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for November 2014, the 7th warmest November for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Australia, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland all set records for their warmest November on record. The coolest temperatures over land were recorded in the Eastern U.S. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

Figure 2. Global temperatures in 2014 compared to the previous five warmest years on record, dating back to 1880. After a relatively cool start, 2014 is now on pace the break the warmest year record set in 2010, according to NOAA. The years 2013 and 2014 are the only years on this list not to begin during a mature El Niño event. The years 1998 and 2010, each of which became the warmest year on record at the time, ended the year in a strong La Niña event, as evidenced by the relative fading of global average temperature later in the year. Image credit: NOAA/NCDC.

No billion-dollar weather disasters in November 2014
No billion-dollar weather-related disaster hit the Earth during November 2014, according to the November 2014 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield. This is the first month since January 2012 without a billion-dollar weather disaster. The global number of billion-dollar weather disasters for the first eleven months of 2014 is 24. This is well behind the record-setting pace of 2013, which had 39 billion-dollar weather disasters by the end of November, and ended up with a record 41 by the end of the year.

No official El Niño, but unusual warmth in Eastern Pacific
Remarkably, the record-warm global sea surface temperatures over the past seven months have occurred in the absence of El Niño, a large-scale warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean that historically has been present whenever record global ocean temperatures have occurred. November 2014 officially featured neutral El Niño conditions in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, but sea surface temperatures rose to 0.5°C above average in mid-October in the so-called Niño 3.4 region (5°S - 5°N, 120°W - 170°W), where SSTs must be at least 0.5°C above average for five consecutive months (each month being a 3-month average) for an El Niño event to be declared. The warmth in the Niño 3.4 region has continued into mid-December, standing at 0.9°C above average this week. Most models predict El Niño will be in place this winter and NOAA is continuing its El Niño Watch, giving a 65% chance of an El Niño event this winter. If an El Niño does emerge, it is likely to be a weak event.

Arctic sea ice falls to 9th lowest November extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during November 2014 was the 9th lowest in the 36-year satellite record and was slightly above November 2013 levels, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Jeff Masters

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About The Author
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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