The “pause” in rising temperatures of recent years is misleading. The new warm record for 2014 is significant because those who doubt the reality of global warming have pointed to an apparent “pause” in warming from about 1998 through 2013 (i.e., up to the time of the new NOAA/NASA report). The apparent “pause” may be seen in the image below, compared to the clearly rising temperatures before 1998.
Global average temperature from 1980 to 2013.
Source: Data table from National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
The new result for 2014 places its data point slightly higher than the two next-warmest years, 2005 and 2010. Although it is too early to tell, the new information suggests that the earth may be resuming its climb to higher global average atmospheric temperatures.
Global average temperatures from 1850 to 2012, presented as differences from the average temperature from 1961 to 1990. The different colored lines represent different data records. Top, annual data points; bottom, 10-year averages with the gray shading showing confidence estimates.
Five-year averaged relative global ocean heat content through 2013 for the upper zone (0-700 m) and the full-depth zone (0-2000 m), evaluated as the difference from the average heat content between about 1975 and 1990. Source: NOAA; http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ .
Global grid showing color-coded deviations of the temperature in 2014 from the average temperature over the period 1981-2010. Red shades represent temperatures warmer than the average, and blue shades represent temperatures cooler than the average. (Grey regions had no data available.)
Chen and Tung (Science Vol. 345, pp. 897-903 (2014) DOI: 10.1126/science.1254937) analyzed earlier data as well as more extensive newer observations gathered by buoys disposed worldwide at various ocean depths. They found that “the [“pause”] is mainly caused by heat transported to deeper layers in the