2014 on Track for Hottest Year on Record as Higher Sea Temperatures Increase Flooding

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This is largely due to record high global sea surface temperatures, which will very likely remain above normal until the end of the year.

In a press statement yesterday, the WMO said that the provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century. Weather extremes during 2014 are consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives.

Increased Flooding

The statement went on to say that what is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere

High sea temperatures, together with other factors, contributed to exceptionally heavy rainfall and floods in many countries…

Twelve major Atlantic storms affected the United Kingdom through the winter 2013/14 and the UK winter was the wettest on record, with 177% of the long-term average precipitation. In May, devastating floods in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia affected more than two million people.

In Russia, in late May and early June, more than twice the monthly average precipitation fell in Altai, Khakassia and Tuva republics in southern Siberia. In September, southern parts of the Balkan Peninsula received over 250% of the monthly average rainfall and, in parts of Turkey, over 500% of normal.

Floods in Bosnia
Floods in Bosnia. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO’s photostream (Flickr CC)

July and August were very wet in France with the two-month total being the highest on record (records begin 1959). Between 16 and 20 September, parts of southern France recorded more than 400mm of rainfall – three to four times the normal monthly average.

Heavy rain in central and southern Morocco in November caused severe flooding. At Guelmim, 126mm of rain fell in four days, the monthly average for November is 17mm and the average for the year is 120mm.

The monthly precipitation over the Pacific side of western Japan for August 2014 was 301% of normal, which was the highest since area-averaged statistics began in 1946. In August and September, heavy rains caused severe flooding in northern Bangladesh, northern Pakistan and India, affecting millions of people.
Buenos Aires and northeastern provinces of Argentina were severely affected by flooding.

In February, many stations in northern and central Argentina reported record rainfall totals for the month. In May and June, precipitation totals in excess of 250% of the long term average were recorded in Paraguay, southern Bolivia and parts of south east Brazil. The heavy rain led to flooding on the Parana River which particularly affected Paraguay, where more than 200,000 people were affected.

On 29 and 30 April, torrential rain fell across the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast of United States causing significant flash flooding. At one location in Florida, the two-day precipitation total was a record 519.9 mm.

2014 Temperature 0.57° Above Average

WMO’s provisional statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2014 indicated that the global average air temperature over land and sea surface for January to October was about 0.57° Centigrade (1.03 Fahrenheit) above the average of 14.00°C (57.2 °F) for the 1961-1990 reference period, and 0.09°C (0.16 °F) above the average for the past ten years (2004-2013)

Climate Change

“The provisional information for 2014 means that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “There is no standstill in global warming,” he said.

“What we saw in 2014 is consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. Record-breaking heat combined with torrential rainfall and floods destroyed livelihoods and ruined lives. What is particularly unusual and alarming this year are the high temperatures of vast areas of the ocean surface, including in the northern hemisphere,” he said.

See the full statement here.

2 thoughts on “2014 on Track for Hottest Year on Record as Higher Sea Temperatures Increase Flooding

  1. interesting. A bold statement. Based on what data? Raw data or “adjusted” data? Is satellite data consistent?

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