People exercise in Barra da Tijuca beach during the sunrise in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 31, 2014.
Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

2014: The world’s hottest year on record


The results are in: 2014 was the hottest year on record.

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released a new report Friday that declared 2014 as the Earth’s warmest year yet. The globally averaged temperature for land and ocean surfaces was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. The average temperature surpassed the previous records in 2005 and 2010 by 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit.

INTERACTIVE INFOGRAPHIC: Visualizing CO2 emissions by country and state

The first nine months of 2014 averaged a global temperature of 58.72 degrees Fahrenheit. But in September alone, the planet averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit, marking 2014 the hottest year for that month in 135 years. 

During December, the combined temperature for global land and ocean surfaces was also the highest on record, 1.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

The record warmth was spread around the world, with hot spots including the western United States, eastern Russia into western Alaska, parts of the interior of South America, and most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, according to the report.

NASA scientists reached the same conclusion as the NCDC data.

In November, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached what the White House called a “milestone” deal to reduce carbon emissions and to tackle the growing crisis of global climate change by 2030. Their two countries account for more than one third of all greenhouse gas pollution.

“This is an ambitious goal, but this is an achievable goal,” Obama previously said.

The United Nations’ 2014 Climate Summit convened last September at its headquarters in New York City. There, Obama made public a new executive order and other government initiatives intended to combat the threat of climate change. The most significant policy is an executive order requiring that federal agencies acknowledge environmental sustainability when they design new international development programs.

The new report on Friday comes just months after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in New York City for the largest mobilization against climate change ever. Attendees from as far as Zimbabwe and the Philippines said they had experienced the effects of climate change and pollution firsthand and demanded that global leaders take action.