The sun rises over an oil field over the Monterey Shale formation where gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is on the verge of a boom on March 24, 2014 near Lost Hills, Calif.
Photo by David McNew/Getty

Earth on track to have record hot year


The Earth is getting hotter.

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released a new report Monday that showed the planet is on track to have its hottest year on record. The temperatures from January through September of this year tied with the highest period on record, previously reached in 1998.

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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 the hottest September in 135 years.

The Earth experienced record-breaking heat at the end of last year. And the span between October 2013 and September 2014 were documented as the warmest 12-month period on record, ever.

An earlier report published in September by dozens of scientists confirmed what some Republicans dispute: that human-caused climate change is influencing weather patterns around the world. Heat waves in Australia, Korea, Japan, China and Europe, for example, “overwhelmingly showed that human-caused climate change is having an influence,” wrote the authors of that studyThe findings indicated that human-caused climate change “greatly increased” the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in the report, the scientists wrote last month.

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The NCDC report released Monday comes just weeks 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 to avert catastrophic climate change.

Burning Man festival draws thousands
Nearly 65,000 people attended Burning Man, a week-long festival in Nevada where participants are encouraged to be aware of the environment.
The United Nations’ 2014 Climate Summit convened last month at its headquarters in Manhattan. There, President Barack 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 extreme effects of climate change are already being felt on every continent and across the world’s oceans, according to an assessment released earlier this year by the UN. The global threat will continue to worsen if leaders don’t rein in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

The changes are already affecting people, societies and ecosystems around the world, from small islands to large continents, but the level of vulnerability differs. The poor, as well as the young and the elderly, will be at particular risk to the effects of climate change, according to the UN report.