NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a Japanese agency confirmed that 2014 is the new warmest year on record. An article here describes the findings and that 2014 surpassed 2010 as the warmest year on record. This new record is even more impressive because it occurred in the absence of “El Niño,” a periodic phenomenon during which the Pacific Ocean contributes large amounts of heat to the atmosphere.
According to the article, “February 1985 was the last time global surface temperatures fell below the 20th-century average for a given month, meaning that no one younger than 30 has ever lived through a below-average month. The last full year that was colder than the 20th-century average was 1976.”
However, this overall global trend does not translate to always-warmer temperatures in all places all the time. “The contiguous United States set a temperature record in 2012, a year of scorching heat waves and drought. But, mostly because of the unusual chill in the East, 2014 was only the 34th warmest year on record for the lower 48 states.” This presents another opportunity to emphasize that short-term, local and regional weather is not the same thing as climate.