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Earth has warmest October on record as ocean temperatures top charts

(Japan Meteorological Agency)

Multiple datasets have confirmed it was the warmest October on record for the globe, keeping the planet on a course towards its toastiest year.

The Japan Meteorological Agency, NASA, and the University of Alabama’s temperature records all showed October temperatures at the top of charts.

  • The Japan dataset reveals the October temperature was 0.61 F above the 1981-2010 average, well (0.18F) above the next warmest year, 2003 (in records dating back to 1891).
  • NASA’s temperature record indicates this October tied with October 2005 as the warmest (in records dating back to 1880), 1.37 F above the 1951-1980 average (its base period).
  • The University of Alabama (which dates back to 1979) showed October 2014 tied October 2012 as warmest in its record, 0.67 F above the 30-year average for October.

The Japan and NASA temperature records rely on mostly surface-based observations of temperature on the land and ocean surface.  The University of Alabama at Huntsville, which measures the Earth’s temperature from space using satellites, provides some independent validation of the NASA and Japan findings.

NOAA will release its report on October global temperatures next week, and will surely rank the past month at or near the top of the list.

Last month, NOAA published a chart (below) indicating the global temperature for the remaining three months of the year need only average among the top 10 warmest for 2014 to be the warmest year on record.  Considering the October results in so far, a record warm year almost seems inevitable unless temperatures radically tank in November and December.

The global warmth in recent months has been spurred by record warm global oceans.

The University of Hawaii at Manao announced Thursday the global oceans were warmest on record for the summer. “[Ocean] temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Nino year,” said Axel Timmermann, a climate scientist. “The 2014 global ocean warming is mostly due to the North Pacific, which has warmed far beyond any recorded value and has shifted hurricane tracks, weakened trade winds, and produced coral bleaching in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Should 2014 set a new global temperature record, it might signal the end of the so-called hiatus in which the rate of temperature rise has slowed, likely due to a cool phase in Pacific ocean temperatures which is (at least temporarily) reversing.

Related: In the red: West Coast waters are warmest in decades