WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2014 – Last year was the fourth hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said yesterday. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which released its own climate data simultaneously, saw small variations that put 2013 tied for seventh hottest, according to its calculations.

But the government agencies agreed: The new data continues “a long-term trend of rising global temperatures,” according to a NASA release. With the exception of 1998, the ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000.

“Since the early 70’s, late 1960’s, there’s been a fairly dramatic warming that continued on throughout the early part of the 21st century,” Thomas Karl, director of  NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, told reporters during a teleconference.

Though both Karl and NASA counterpart Gavin Schmidt, deputy director at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, acknowledged the year’s ranking could change as more data becomes available, they said 2013 is “very likely among the ten warmest years” ever.

Schmidt predicted this year, 2014, could be even warmer. El Niño conditions – which occur when warmer-than-normal water in the southern Pacific Ocean causes worldwide climactic changes – may have began in the second half of 2013, he said.

El Niño “will help warm 2014 over 2013,” Schmidt said. “That’s likely to push 2014 or more likely 2015 quite a way up the (heat) rankings.”


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