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It's official: Earth has warmest year on record in 2014

Long Islanders who lived through last winter's recurring deep-dive Arctic dips may find it hard to believe that, globally, 2014 was the warmest year since records started being kept, back in 1880.

That's according to analyses reported Friday by both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Globally, the average combined land and sea surface temperature of 58.24 was 1.24 degrees above the 20th century average and was the highest on record, NOAA said.

"This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

"While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns," he said, "the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases."

In 2014, Long Island was "a little on the warm side" and certainly not "record-breaking," said Jessica Spaccio, a climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center based at Cornell University.

Last year's average temperature for the Island, which makes up the bulk of NOAA's New York Coastal Climate Division 4, was 52 degrees, making it the 33rd-warmest year since 1895, when records started being kept. The average yearly temperature, based on data since 1895, is 51.2, she said.

Long Island MacArthur Airport saw a 2014 average temperature of 52.5, making it the 14th-warmest year since 1984, when data started being kept, she said. The airport's December temperature, 39.6, ranks at ninth-warmest for the month.

Of course, this is one small region of a planet, she said, that has been seeing an ongoing trend of being warmer than average.

Last year's heat was driven by record warmth in the world's oceans that didn't just break old marks: It shattered them. Record warmth spread across far eastern Russia, the western part of the United States, interior South America, much of Europe, northern Africa and parts of Australia.

"Every continent had some aspect of record high temperatures" in 2014, said Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

Nine of the 10 hottest years in NOAA global records have occurred since 2000. The odds of this happening at random are about 650 million to 1, according to University of South Carolina statistician John Grego. Two other statisticians confirmed his calculations.

With AP

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