2014 Was Earth’s Hottest Year in Recorded History

Hot dog!
Hot dog! –iStock

It’s really cold outside. And according to Boston.com’s shiny new weather section, it will continue to be cold through the weekend and into next week.

But remember all those really, really hot days just last year? Of course you do. Because 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today that 2014 broke records, averaging out at 59.24 degrees Fahrenheit, a 1.24 degree rise above the 20th century global average. This also breaks all official documentation of the Earth’s average temperature dating back to 1880—surpassing 2010, 2005, and 1998 as the previous top three of land and ocean surface temps combined.

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But we all like summer weather, right? Delicate question.

Common concerns of climate change aside, a recent federal report published in 2014 demonstrated that rising temps may lead to longer, more intense, pollen seasons, which is especially bad for the most vulnerable populations, such as children with asthma. It also increases rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, as well as premature death and injuries because of extreme weather events.

Scientists seem to be interested in the fact that the record high occurred during a year that did not include an El Niño, a disruptive atmospheric anomaly that you may remember from 1997-98. Researchers predicted another visit from the destructive weather pattern earlier last year, hypothesizing that the effects would have been felt as early as summer. Those claims were pretty much shot down by November when the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center dropped the odds to 58 percent.

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