US government: This year on pace to become hottest on record

US government: This year on pace to become hottest on record
​Earth’s temperature in 2014 is set to tie previous years or even reach a new high, meteorologists for the US government said after announcing that the globe just experienced the warmest September since record-keeping began.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday that last month’s average global temperature of 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius) was the hottest September on Earth since 1880, when records began. NASA, which measures temperature a bit differently than NOAA, previously reported a record-high September.

The landmark September temperatures followed record-setting highs in May, June, and August of this year.

So far this year, 2014 has tied 1998 for the warmest global average temperature - 58.72 degrees Fahrenheit, or 14.78 degrees Celsius - in a year’s first nine months, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reported, leading NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden to tell AP “it’s pretty likely” that 2014 is in line to break the record for hottest year.

In the early part of 1998, the Earth was warmed by the presence of an El Nino that heated the Pacific Ocean, affecting global weather patterns. Blunden told AP that there’s a good chance that 2014 will see an El Nino, which would further boost temperatures.

An El Nino could wreak havoc in 2015, also. Jeff Masters, meteorology director for Weather Underground, told AP that "next year could well bring Earth's hottest year on record, accompanied by unprecedented regional heat waves and droughts."

If 2014 breaks the global temperature record, it would be the sixth a new highmark has been set in the last 20 years. The previous heat records occurred in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2005, and 2010.

"This is one of many indicators that climate change has not stopped and that it continues to be one of the most important issues facing humanity," Donald Wuebbles, climate scientist at the University of Illinois, told AP.

In fact, the 12 months from October 2013 to September 2014 have been measured as the hottest 12-month period on Earth in the last 135 years, Blunden said. Earth has not set a monthly low-temperature record since 1916.

September 2014 was also the fifth month in a row that the Earth’s oceans broke monthly heat records, Blunden said.

September was only the 25th hottest month in US history. Though parts of the US Midwest, Russia, and central Africa were cooler than usual in September, the US West, Australia, Europe, northwest Africa, central South America, and areas of Asia hit new highs.