Energy & Environment

Report shows record warmth, carbon dioxide levels in 2014

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Last year was the warmest on record and the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases continues to climb, according to a new report released Thursday. 

The American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) annual climate report concluded that average surface and ocean temperatures were at their highest levels on record in 2014.

{mosads}The warm temperatures were especially pronounced in the North Pacific Ocean and the Arctic, the report said, and many regions of the Earth experienced record warmth in 2014. The Eastern half of North America, including the Eastern seaboard of the United States, was the only major region to experience below-average temperatures. 

Carbon dioxide concentration also increased in 2014, reaching an average level of 397.2 parts per million globally. The global average was 354 parts per million in 1990, the first year of AMS’s annual climate report.

In March, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers said the carbon level had hit 400 parts per million, the first time they had ever observed that level across the Earth.

“This report represents data from around the globe, from hundreds of scientists and gives us a picture of what happened in 2014,” said Thomas Karl, the director of the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

“The variety of indicators shows us how our climate is changing, not just in temperature but from the depths of the oceans to the outer atmosphere.”

The report is likely to add more fuel to the congressional debate over global warming and the proper response to it. 

The Obama administration is instituting an agenda designed to cut carbon emissions across several sectors, including transportation and energy, though Republicans have opposed that effort due to concerns about excessive government regulation. 

“Today’s report confirms that 2014 was the hottest year on record, and leading scientists are again highlighting the threat of climate change,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a Senate candidate, said in a statement.

“We are already seeing the damaging impacts, especially in vulnerable coastal communities. We must act now.”

Tags Climate change National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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