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Earth on track to warmest year on record, says NOAA

Global temperature departure from normal for the period of January through October 2014. This year is on track to be the warmest on record, according to NOAA. (NOAA)

With October global temperatures being the highest ever recorded for the month, Earth is on a track to see its warmest year in 2014, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Five of the past six months have been the warmest on record for their respective months, says NOAA, with July 2014 being the fourth warmest July ever recorded, which has pushed 2014 into position to break the record for warmest year. In fact, both November and December would have to be very cool, globally, in order for 2014 to not go down in the record books.

The average global temperature for the month of October was 58.43 degrees Fahrenheit, which surpassed the previous record warm October in 2003 by 0.02 degrees.

Interestingly the coolest air anywhere on Earth so far this year has been over North America, from central Canada south into the Eastern U.S. Temperatures here have been running up to 1.5 degrees Celsius below average — a significant cool anomaly for a 10-month period. But despite the North America cold pool, it’s been warm pretty much everywhere else. Europe has been running up to two degrees above average so far this year, and Siberia is up to 2.5 degrees above average.

But most significantly, the oceans have seen widespread, persistent warmth so far in 2014. The North Pacific is running an incredible 2.5 degrees Celsius above average so far this year. The global warmth in 2014 has undoubtedly been driven by extreme ocean temperatures. The period from May through October in 2014 was the warmest May through October on record for the ocean — quite frankly blowing the previous records out of the water.

As we wrote late last week, NOAA is not the only organization to agree with the warm characterization of the month of October:

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

The University of Hawaii at Manao also announced last week that the global oceans were warmest on record this 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.”