Despite the record early snowfall in parts of the United States in recent weeks, 2014 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record and according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, the first ten months of this year have been the hottest since record keeping began more than 130 years ago.
NOAA data showed that October was the hottest October on record globally, with temperatures climbing more than one degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 57.1 F.
“The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, the average global temperature between January and October has been 0.68 degrees Celsius (1.22 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 20th century’s average global temperature of 14.1 C (57.4 F).
NOAA’s analysis breaks down global temperatures into two categories, land and sea, as well as an average that includes both. October’s record high temperatures were clocked across both land and sea.
The surface temperature on land approached a significant and potentially perilous scientific benchmark at almost 2 degrees Celsius higher than the 20th century average for October of 9.3 C (48.7 F).
Any temperature increase above the 2 degree Celsius mark is “dangerous,” according to the non-binding international agreement on climate change, the Copenhagen Accord, reached in 2009.
Experts have long predicted that a change in global average temperature of just 2 to 3 degrees higher could have catastrophic consequences, contributing to disastrous storms, storm surges, melting polar ice and sea level rise.
October’s ocean temperatures were also the warmest on record, according to NOAA, with an increase of 1.12 F over the 20th century average of 60.6 degrees.
Of particular concern, several countries have already seen an average temperature increase exceeding 2 degrees Celsius in October 2014 compared to 20th century averages, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Australia.
“Record warmth for the year-to-date was particularly notable across much of northern and western Europe, parts of Far East Russia, and large areas of the northeastern and western equatorial Pacific Ocean,” NOAA said.
“It is also notable that record warmth was observed in at least some areas of every continent and major ocean basin around the world,” the agency added.
The midsection of the United States, which saw a severe winter, was a notable exception, with its average temperature this year below the 20th century average.