It's official: 2014 is the hottest year since we humans started recording temperatures on Earth, according to two independent analyses by NASA and NOAA. Last year's global temperatures broke record a record set in 2010 and, before that, in 2005. We are on a steady march toward a warmer Earth.
January in the northern hemisphere is perhaps not the best time to remind people how warm the previous year was, but 2014 was full of hot weather anomalies. Europe had its warmest year on record, Antarctic and Arctic sea ice extent were low, Australia had its warmest spring on record, and on and on.
To get into climate nerdery for a second, this year's record temperatures happened in spite of there being no El Niño, a weather pattern that typically adds a lot of heat into the Earth's atmosphere. Temperatures will always fluctuate year from year, in part because of patterns like El Niño, but the long-term pattern is clear. Earth is getting hotter.
Climate change denialists can keep pretending none of this is man-made, but the rest of us know better. 2014's record-breaking temperatures are only yet another reminder that we as a species have to do something about it. [NOAA, NASA]