Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Hot World, Cool-ish United States, Average Vermont

2014 has a very good shot of exceeding 2010
as the world's hottest year on record.  
Now that we're into 2015, we can start looking back at the climate of 2014 and see evidence that global warming continued.

Although you probably didn't notice if you were in much of the United States.

Final figures aren't in for the world as a whole yet, but there's a good chance 2014 will end up as the hottest year on record, at least since they started keeping in detail 120 years or  more ago.

According to Scientific American, three major government and scientific monitoring agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United Kingdom's Met Office and the World Meteorological Association all agree there's an excellent chance 2014 will be the hottest on record.

If December's global temperature ends up at about three quarters of a degree warmer than the 20th century average, the year that just ended will be the toastiest. We should know for sure by about the middle of January.

Siberia, Australia, the U.S. West Coast and parts of northern Europe were particularly toasty in 2014.

For the contiguous United States, 2014 won't end up as being one of the warmest years, despite the record highs on the West Coast, says the National Climate Data Center. The western warmth was offset by a very cold year in the Midwest.

Through November, the United States experienced its coldest year since 1997, though that might chance because most of the nation appears to have had a warm December. And 2014 was still a bit above the 20th century median temperature, so it was techically above normal.

Through November,  thirteen states in a stripe from the Great Lakes to Louisiana had what were among the top 10 coldest years in 120 years of record. No states were set to have their coldest year on record.

Here where I live in Vermont, it was a middling year, temperature wise. Through November, Vermont had its 54th chilliest year out of the past 120, which means it was close to average, says the National Climate Data Center.

At Burlington, Vermont, the mean temperature ws 46.4 degrees for the year, just half a degree cooler than normal. A chilly start to the year was offset by a pretty warm second half. October and Deember were especially mild in Vermont.

Don't ask me how 2015 will work out. A lot of experts are saying 2015 on a global basis could threaten 2014 as the hottest year on record, since an El Nino seems to want to get going. El Ninos tend to make the world a little hotter, on average.

Once you get down to regions or specific localities, predicting things is really dicey. The smaller the geographical area you're talking about, the harder it is to predict what general temperatures will be weeks and months down the road.

I suppose the United States overall will be warmer this year than in 2015.

Here in Vermont, it's anybody's guess. It will be warm, I suppose, unless it isn't.

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