Hotter, Wetter, Stormier: Study Says 2014 Climate Melted Records

Global sea levels swelled to a high, tropical cyclones continued to multiply and the world’s thermometer set a record in 2014, according to a new report tracking the earth’s climate.

The report, an “annual physical” for the world’s climate, found evidence of warming around the globe, from shrinking glaciers and Arctic sea ice to record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The compendium of data from 413 researchers in 58 countries was released Thursday by the American Meteorological Society.

The numbers are likely to be seized on by politicians and environmental groups seeking curbs on global warming emissions. The United Nations is trying to broker a deal this year among 190 countries to restrict greenhouse gas pollution.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama’s push to limit emissions from power plants, oil and gas drillers and other sources has run into fierce resistance from Republicans in Congress.

Four independent measures last year found “the highest annual global surface temperatures in at least 135 years of modern record-keeping,” Thursday’s report said. “The warmth was distributed widely around the globe’s land areas.”

The annual State of the Climate report, compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found global sea levels reached a record high last year, about 67 millimeters (2.6 inches) above the mean in 1993 when satellite measurements began. There were 91 tropical cyclones in 2014, “well above” the 1981-2010 annual average of 82 storms, according to a statement released with the report.

Europe and Mexico experienced their warmest years on record, Africa had above-average temperatures across most of the continent and Australia had its third-warmest year, scientists said. Eastern North America was the only major region to record below-average temperature for the year.

“Most of the dozens of essential climate variables monitored each year in this report continued to follow their long-term trends in 2014, with several setting new records,” researchers wrote.

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