Credit Louise Murray/Robert Harding World Imagery, via Corbis
By Justin Gillis
Last year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.
Extreme heat blanketed Alaska and much of the western United States last year. Records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent. And the ocean surface was unusually warm virtually everywhere except near Antarctica, the scientists said, providing the energy that fueled damaging Pacific storms.
In the annals of climatology, 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997, a reflection of the relentless planetary warming that scientists say is a consequence of human activity and poses profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.
“Climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation,” said Michael H. Freilich, director of earth sciences at NASA, one of the agencies that track global temperatures.
Of the large land areas where many people live, only the eastern portion of the United States recorded below-average temperatures in 2014, in sharp contrast to the unusual heat in the West. Some experts think the weather pattern that produced those American extremes is an indirect consequence of the release of greenhouse gases, though that is not proven.
Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.