2014: the Warmest Year Ever Recorded on Earth
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US agencies that maintains long-term temperature records, issued separate data compilations confirming that 2014 was earth's warmest year on record with average temperatures 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit above the previous high in 2000. In fact, average temperatures over land and oceans were higher in 2014 than any year since 1880, when record keeping began. This past December also had the third-highest average global land temperature—out of any December in the past 135 years—at 2.45 degrees Fahrenheit above average.
The warmest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005—indicating that global warming trends continue unabated. Indeed, February 1985 was the last time global temperatures fell below the 20th-century average for a given month. To pus this in perspective, today, no one younger than 30 has ever lived through a below-average month.
The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997, which underscores scientific warnings about the risks of runaway emissions and the profound impacts they have on the planet. Several scientists also noted that the most noteworthy factor about the 2014 record is that it did not witness an El Niño, a large-scale weather pattern in which the ocean dumps an enormous amount of heat into the atmosphere, reinforcing evidence of human-caused climate change. Read more on the scientific evidence of global warming at NASA’s Just Facts.
At MIT, the Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) has been actively engaged in forming a better understanding of earth’s climate while facilitating the prediction of climate change. CGCS, which acts as an interdisciplinary bridge spanning the MIT School of Science & the MIT School of Engineering, spearheads three key research activities in the field of climate research:
The MIT Joint Program brings together both science and policy to provide a truly independent integrative assessment of the impacts of climate change and the expected values of responsive actions. As science advances and economic and political conditions change, effective long-term climate action requires a sustained research effort to address these challenges.
Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) measures the composition of the global atmosphere from high-frequency measurements obtained from a network of sampling stations across the globe. Since 1978 the AGAGE effort and its predecessors (ALE and GAGE) have observed and estimated the global emissions and atmospheric contration of all important gases species in the Montreal Protocol (e.g. CFCs and HCFCs) to protect the ozone layer, and almost all of the significant non-CO2 gases in the Kyoto Protocol (e.g. HFCs, methane, and nitrous oxide) to mitigate climate change.
The Climate Modeling Initiative is an open-source collaborative based at MIT which has developed a modeling infrastructure for the study of the atmosphere, ocean and climate of the Earth. Our goal is the development of highly scalable, flexible and easy to use models designed to address key questions in earth and planetary science. The main development thrust of CMI is the MIT General Circulation Model (MITgcm). Over many years, researchers in CMI have extended MITgcm to embrace an increasingly wide range of modeling challenges in: atmospheres, oceans, the cryosphere, biogeochemical cycles, ocean ecology and the coupling together of all these processes.
Through the Climate Change Conversation, MIT is continuing to advance both the scientific research and the global conversation on climate change, and aims to formulate, explore, and assess the broad range of actions that MIT could take to make a significant positive contribution to confront climate change.