NASA Global Results Kicks 2014 Temps Up a Notch?

“..breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04 C (0.07 ??F)” (Therefore No change*)

This color-coded map displays global temperature anomaly data from 2014.
Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Download related visuals from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

In a recent article posted online from the USA ‘s NCDC about the ranking of?? the USA’s average temperatures for 2014 as “.. the 34th warmest year in the 1895???2014 record.”,. NASA has stepped in to essentially say: “OK, but the world results are just a teeny-weeny bit higher, making 2014 the hottest over (recorded) time” and NCDC agrees.

Here’s the NASA news story with a few of our comments at the end.

NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

The year 2014 ranks as Earth???s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA???s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

In an independent analysis of the raw data, also released Friday, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.

???NASA is at the forefront of the scientific investigation of the dynamics of the Earth???s climate on a global scale,??? said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

???The observed long-term warming trend and the ranking of 2014 as the warmest year on record reinforces the importance for NASA to study Earth as a complete system, and particularly to understand the role and impacts of human activity.???

Since 1880, Earth???s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet???s atmosphere.

The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades.

???This is the latest in a series of warm years, in a series of warm decades. While the ranking of individual years can be affected by chaotic weather patterns, the long-term trends are attributable to drivers of climate change that right now are dominated by human emissions of greenhouse gases,??? said GISS’ Gavin Schmidt.

While 2014 temperatures continue the planet???s long-term warming trend, scientists still expect to see year-to-year fluctuations in average global temperature caused by phenomena such as El Ni??o or La Ni??a.

These phenomena warm or cool the tropical Pacific and are thought to have played a role in the flattening of the long-term warming trend over the past 15 years. However, 2014???s record warmth occurred during an El Ni??o-neutral year.

???NOAA provides decision makers with timely and trusted science-based information about our changing world,??? said Richard Spinrad, NOAA chief scientist.

As we monitor changes in our climate, demand for the environmental intelligence NOAA provides is only growing. It’s critical that we continue to work with our partners, like NASA, to observe these changes and to provide the information communities need to build resiliency.???

Regional differences in temperature are more strongly affected by weather dynamics than the global mean. For example, in the U.S. in 2014, parts of the Midwest and East Coast were unusually cool, while Alaska and three western states ??? California, Arizona and Nevada ??? experienced their warmest year on record, according to NOAA.

The GISS analysis incorporates surface temperature measurements from 6,300 weather stations, ship- and buoy-based observations of sea surface temperatures, and temperature measurements from Antarctic research stations.

This raw data is analyzed using an algorithm that takes into account the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and urban heating effects that could skew the calculation. The result is an estimate of the global average temperature difference from a baseline period of 1951 to 1980.

NOAA scientists used much of the same raw temperature data, but a different baseline period. They also employ their own methods to estimate global temperatures.

GISS is a NASA laboratory managed by the Earth Sciences Division of the agency???s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University???s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.

NASA monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites, as well as airborne and ground-based observation campaigns.

NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing.?? agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

The data set of 2014 surface temperature measurements is available at:

The methodology used to make the temperature calculation is available at:

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

*ED Notes:

Huh? 0.07 ??F!?? (That wasn’t actually in the NASA story, but it’s in the NCDC version)

Sounds like no change from the last record to us. Plus we are highly skeptical of the big deal that NASA seems to be making here.

Why have they given credence to significant figure calculation results that are meaningless?

What’s their measurement uncertainty and other calculation errors?

Well, actually, if you follow the NASA links, their stated measurement uncertainties at the 95% confidence limits appear to be typically about???? 0.1 ??C for some of the data they show in graphical form at That alone mocks the statement of a 0.04 ??C (0.07 ??F) as being significant. See the NASA figure below from the linked GISS data with report uncertainty error bars in green.

Line plot of global mean land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present, with the base period 1951-1980. The dotted black line is the annual mean and the solid red line is the five-year mean.
The green bars show uncertainty estimates. [This is an update of Fig. 9a in Hansen et al. (2010).]
Image Courtesy NASA GISS (Report Figure A2)

If this were the only graph, we would conclude that there hasn’t been a significant change in annual temperature average in at least the last seven or eight years.

But, included in their data are many satellite measurements which, we suspect, would have great difficulty providing ?? 1.0 ??C?? uncertainty, let alone 0.1 ??C. So, the claim of ?? 0.1 ??C uncertainty seems questionable to us.

Also, we highly doubt that any scientist worth his salt – and NASA has lots of them – would make such a silly PR statement.??

This seems like a self-indictment of the need for better STEM education in the USA! That’s about the only reason we published this article, BTW.