The finding was announced today in a new report from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Each year the institute produces a global temperature analysis using readings from weather stations around the world. The map, seen here, shows long-term changes in Earth’s temperature compared to a 30-year baseline. Red, orange and yellow are warmer areas. Blue is colder.
Since temperature records began in 1880, the global average has increased by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. and that might not seem very much but in terms of the climate, it’s actually quite a big deal. Scientists expect global and regional fluctuations in temperature from year to year due to changing weather patterns.
In 2014, the mid-western U.S. experienced a cold winter, but parts of western U.S. hit record-high temperatures. But when looking at decade worth of data, the ranking of 2014 as the hottest year reinforces the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.
A trend driven by the increase of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide levels are increasing because we’re taking carbon out of the ground mainly as coal, oil or as natural gas and we’re burning it. When you burn carbon you produce carbon dioxide, which contributes to the planet’s greenhouse effect. And as we continue to increase that we’re going to continue to see warming and more records being broken, not every year but on a pretty regular basis.