The annals of hotness will record 2013 as the 6th hottest year since records began (see below), but it seems unlikely that anyone will throw a parade to mark the event (Go Hawks!!). Share your climatological record celebration ideas here!!
2013 was 6th-warmest year on record -- meteorological group
Henry Gass, E&E reporter
Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The World Meteorological Organization announced today that 2013 was one of the top 10 warmest years since modern record keeping began. Continuing the trend from last decade's record-breaking temperatures, the WMO ranked 2013 as the sixth-warmest year since modern records began more than a century ago, tied with 2007. The global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.5 degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 average and 0.03 C higher than the most recent 2001-2010 decadal average.
Thirteen of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century. 1988, a former record holder, has now dropped out of the top 20 in the space of 25 years.
The WMO analysis averaged global temperature data sets from four organizations: the Hadley Centre of the U.K. Met Office combined with the University of East Anglia; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies; and reanalysis-based data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
Both NOAA and NASA released their individual rankings two weeks ago, and although individual calculation methods meant each organization ranked 2013 slightly differently, each one had it in the top 10. The ECMWF and NOAA both ranked 2013 the fourth-warmest year on record, while NASA had it seventh (, Jan. 22).
Gavin Schmidt, deputy director of the Goddard Institute, said that the differences among the separate rankings were more a result of data treatment than raw observations and that the variations were small enough to be well within the groups' margins of error. The difference between fourth and seventh place is just 0.02 C.
"The bottom line is this is an analysis that is very coherent with all the other analyses," he said. "This is another top 10 year along with all other top 10 years we've had."
2013 was especially warm given it was an ENSO-neutral year, meaning it didn't experience a warming El Niño event or a cooling La Niña event, both major drivers of natural climate variability. The WMO analysis found 2013 to be among the four warmest ENSO-neutral years on record.
Moving forward, Schmidt said there have been "hints" of an El Niño event arriving in the second half of 2014. If that event does materialize, he said it's very likely this year will be another top 10 year, or even a top three year depending on the strength of the El Niño.
"And if we go into 2015 with an El Niño in place, then that's very likely to be the warmest year on record," he added.
WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a news release that the underlying trend in recent global warming was "undeniable.""Given the record amounts of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, global temperatures will continue to rise for generations to come," he said.