2014 hottest year on record

JANUARY 20, 2015

Last year was the Earth's hottest year on record, two US government agencies have said – pointing out new evidence to the severity of manmade climate change.

Studies by the US space agency, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), showed climate change was happening now and that action is needed to cut rising world greenhouse gas emissions.

The 10 warmest years since records began in the 19th century have all been since 1997, the data showed.

2014 was the warmest yet, ahead of 2010, undermining claims by some that global warming has stopped in recent years.

According to the studies, record temperatures in 2014 were spread around the globe, including most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, the western United States, far eastern Russia into western Alaska, parts of interior South America, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia and elsewhere.

"While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York.

“The data shows quite clearly that it's the greenhouse gas trends that are responsible for the majority of the trends," he told reporters.

Emissions were still rising “so we may anticipate further record highs in the years to come.”

Rising sea levels and future food shortages

UN studies already show more extremes of heat and rainfall – as well as worse future disruptions to food and water supplies.

Sea levels are rising, threatening millions of people living near coasts, as ice melts from Greenland to Antarctica.

Next December, about 200 governments will meet in Paris to try to reach a deal to limit global warming, shifting to renewable energies. China and the United States, the top emitters of greenhouse gases, say they are cooperating more to achieve a UN accord.