World In Hot Water: Screaming Sea Surface Temperatures Push Globe To Hottest June Yet

June 2014 Hottest on Record

(Graphic of 135 year temperature record by NOAA. Image source: NCDC.)

According to reports from NOAA, human-caused warming continued unabated into June of 2014 as land and ocean surface temperatures spiked to 0.72 C above the 20th Century average and about 0.92 C above 1880s norms.

These new records were shoved higher by a broad warming of the ocean surface, not just an Equatorial Pacific approaching El Nino warmth, but also through an extreme warming of almost every major world ocean zone. This hot water warmed local air masses and had a far-reaching impact on global climate for the month, likely delaying the Indian Monsoon, worsening the western US Drought and intensifying the record wildfire outbreak in the Northwest Territory of Canada.

Widespread Above Average to Record Heat, Few Cool Areas

2014’s June rating beat out the previous hottest June, 2010, by about 0.03 C and showed an increase over the 1998 spike by about 0.05 C.

As global temperatures exceeded record levels, few regions experienced below average temperatures. These zones were primarily isolated to a region of the Pacific Ocean off the east coast of Japan and an isolated region in the southern Ocean between South America and Antarctica. Conversely, much of the globe experienced warmer than average or much warmer than average readings.

Widespread regions also experienced warmest on record temperatures with the largest of these zones stretching east of the Philippines across a broad swath of the Pacific, over a large patch of the Indian Ocean, and pooling off the East Coast of South America. Other smaller, but still extensive, regions of record warmest temperature emerged off the US and Canadian West Coasts, in a zone between the UK and Iceland, and over East Africa.


(Land and Ocean temperature graphic for June of 2014 shows most of the world sweltering under warmer than average to record warmest temperatures. Image source: NCDC.)

Other monitors also showed record or near record global heat for the month. NASA GISS marking the 3rd hottest June while Japan’s Meteorological Agency also put June as #1 hottest. Both May and June have now broken global temperature records in at least one of the major monitors and NASA shows that the first quarter of 2014 was also the hottest quarter since record-keeping began 135 years ago.

Record Temperatures in Context

Overall, atmospheric warming has continued at a pace between 0.15 C and 0.30 C per decade over the past three decades. Current warming of 0.92 C since the 1880s represents about 20% of the difference between now and the last ice age, but on the side of hot. Present atmospheric greenhouse gas loading of 400 ppm CO2 and 481 ppm CO2e, according to paleoclimate data, contains enough heat energy to raise temperatures between 2 and 3 C for the CO2 forcing alone, and 3 and 4 C for the aggregate forcing, over the long term.

Near 2 C or greater global increases will likely be achieved during this century even if greenhouse gasses are somehow stabilized. But rates of human carbon emission is now in excess of 30 gigatons of CO2 and approaches 50 gigatons of CO2e each year (when adding in all the other human-emitted greenhouse gasses). At this pace, we hit enough forcing to raise global temperatures by 5-6 C long-term and by about 2.5 to 3 C this Century within the next 20-30 years. Potential global temperature increases grow greater if humans continue to emit greenhouse gasses beyond this timeframe and if Earth Systems response to human warming is greater than expected (large CO2 and methane release from stores).

No El Nino Yet Despite Record Warmest Ocean Surface

The June record high readings occurred despite the Pacific Ocean remaining in an ENSO nuetral state. That said, sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific for the month of June did enter values typical to El Nino, so some ocean to atmosphere heat transfer likely occurred over this broad region and aided in the establishment of new records.

Globally, ocean surfaces were very warm through the month, at times hitting a +1.25 C positive anomaly above the 1979 to 2000 average. These were the hottest ocean surface values ever seen — a primary factor pushing over-all June temperatures to new highs.

NOAA has adjusted its El Nino forecast to show a higher likelihood that any declared El Nino is likely to be either weak or moderate. This is due to an overall weak atmospheric feedback (only intermittent westerly winds) to the initial ocean and near surface equatorial temperature spike associated with a strong Kelvin wave this winter and spring. Without continued atmospheric feedback, it appears possible that the predicted El Nino may well fizzle. That said, the NOAA forecast is still calling for an 80% chance of El Nino developing sometime this year.

Given raging sea surface temperature values outside of the Nino zones, even a weak El Nino would likely set the stage for a new record high global temperature for the year of 2014.


National Climate Data Center


Japan Meteorological Agency

Driven by Ocean Heat, World Sets Mark for Hottest June

World’s Oceans Were Hotter in June Than At Any Time Since Humans Started Keeping Track






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  1. Mark R. Elsis |

     /  July 21, 2014

    The World’s Oceans Were Hotter In June Than At Any Other Time Since Humans Started Keeping Track by Ben Mathis-Lilley

  2. Colorado Bob

     /  July 22, 2014

    California drought fuels unusual mountain events

    Hot weather and continued drought this week are having a series of landmark effects on glaciers, rivers and streams across California’s high country:

    • 70 F over 12000 foot glaciers is pretty amazingly hot. Would be surprised if they last 60 years under current trends. From the satellite, these mountains are appear to be entirely snow free. If there’s ice it has taken on a dark and dirty color that more resembles the rocks.

      1 million acres have already burned in Washington and Oregon. I wonder if California is next.

  3. mikkel

     /  July 22, 2014

    Is El Nino defined according to some historical baseline or surrounding ocean?

    • mikkel

       /  July 22, 2014

      Wiki says “The average period length is five years.”

      It still leaves the possibility that feedback effects aren’t kicking in because the ocean is so much warmer generally.

      • That’s possible as the atmospheric feedback is baroclinicity based and baroclinicity relies heavily on temperature differential.

    • It’s defined by the Niño 3.4 zone along the equatorial Pacific at about center ocean exceeding a +0.5 C positive anomaly for about three consecutive seasons. The baseline as shifted a little in that averages now include record warm years for this region such as 1998.

      Though temperature differential between the Niño 3.4 zone and the rest of the Pacific is not an explicit characteristic of El Niño, it may be somewhat implied as differential drives baroclinicity which is key to the atmospheric feedback.

      NOAA is still forecasting El Niño for this year and a second Kelvin Wave of as yet undetermined strength appears to be forming. But it is worth noting that so far the atmospheric feedback has been weak to moderate when you consider the strength of the initial Kelvin wave. In addition, ocean temps near the surface have greatly fallen. So a second moderate to strong Kelvin wave is needed soon to regenerate the heat source upon which the El Niño variation relies.

  4. Henri

     /  July 22, 2014

    Apart from freak cooling events such as strong volcanoes are there any likely scenarios which would prevent 2014 to become the hottest year in record?

    • Oh, I wouldn’t make a completely certain call for 2014 as hottest year on record. A fizzled El Niño could relegate us to 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th hottest.

      But the overall heat forcing from the ocean is very strong even without a powerful El Niño signal yet. In the northern hemisphere, the trend has been for record heat in August, September and October as ghg retains summer warmth for longer.

      2014 makes a strong showing so far. I’d put the forecast at 50 percent for a new record this year. If an El Niño of any strength emerges, that chance probably grows to above 70 percent.

  5. Mark from New England

     /  July 22, 2014

    Not directly related to this article, but I wanted to make people aware of this:

    Dear reader,

    For the first time I am writing to you directly to tell you about my new book “Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change”, which covers all the issues I have been talking about on my blog for the past five years. It will be published by Bloomsbury US in just over six weeks (and internationally in October). It has already had strong advance praise from Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein.

    I am writing to ask if you would like to join a ‘launch team’. All I am asking is that you tweet, blog, facebook and talk about the book when it is released. In return I will send fifty people in the US team a free hardback copy as a thank you and to read ahead of launch – I think you will like it. There will be electronic copies available for other people outside the US too.

    However this is not just about the book. The aim is to shift the public and media discussion. The contents and conclusions are full of ideas about how we can overcome these blockages and find new and effective ways to talk and think about climate change. This is why Bill Nye says “Please read this book, and think about it- let’s get to work”. It will be supported by videos, and materials for people like you to use.

    If you would like to join the launch team, or would like to know more, please drop me a line to (subject LAUNCH TEAM) and tell me, in a few words, about your interest in this issue and what you might be able to do.

    Please also follow me on
    Twitter @climategeorge
    Facebook :
    Or visit the book website

    Finally, in September I will tour the US and Canada, visiting Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, LA, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Yale and Columbia, and Washington DC. I am posting details and dates on the website: Please do come along and tell others.

    Thank you for your interest and support.

    George Marshall,

    • Mark Ó Dochartaigh

       /  July 22, 2014

      Well this is a very interesting topic and not just because this peculiar psychological weakness is the fulcrum on which human power swung when it (probably) destroyed the biosphere. It seems to me that this almost miraculous power of the human mind to deny the obvious even to the detriment of one’s own well being is the closest most mortals will ever come to having a “superpower”. The hospital in which I work (and in which President Kennedy was pronounced dead), for more than 10 years paid straight time for overtime and edited time cards so that RN’s were paid nothing for mandatory overtime of less than 1 hour. And yet if you try to explain to most or the workers who lost significant amounts of money to these practices that they would have been better off with a union, they look at you like you have 5 heads. If you try to explain to people in Dallas that our current cool summer is not really such a good thing, but most likely a symptom of a weakened Jetstream which will make our weather even more unpredictable and hence dangerous because of the weather’s novel behavior, they look at you like you had just espoused the benefits of socialism. Probably these same people’s parents were aghast at environmentalist’s efforts in the 60’s and 70’s to prevent all our Springs from becoming silent. Probably many of their grandparents were disgusted by FDR’s efforts to save capitalism by providing a safety net so the starving poor would not rebel or be crushed by the titans of industry and finance. Probably the first ape out of the trees was knocked in the head by a branch thrown by another ape who never even realized what was really at stake.
      I look forward to reading this book.

    • Deadly seas…

    • Good article. It would be nice to see a decisive call to stop pushing the oceans to ever more acidic levels through continuing fossil fuel emissions.

      They talk about mitigation but their message is adaptation. Mitigation = preventing future harm. Adaptation = trying to live with the fallout. So we have somewhat confused definitions here.

      Adaptation only works if conditions don’t get too extreme. And they’re certain to get too extreme without a rapid cessation of fossil fuel emissions over the next few decades.

  6. High plain aquifer is dropping across is entire coverage area. In Texas panhandle, it is pretty much done. Southern Kansas it is dropping 2 to 5 feet / year. If it wasn’t for water mining, would we be in Dust Bowl 2? As sections of the aquifer dry out, will those areas remain viable or become mini dust bowls?

    Annuals such as corn require more water than perennials, but the annual return is higher. It is higher until it doesn’t exist anymore. 70 years of pumping has taken it’s toll. As the Ogallala goes dry in sections, will we see more Texas panhandle sized wastelands emerge?–Disappearing-Ogallala

    • Mark Ó Dochartaigh

       /  July 22, 2014

      Business/financial tycoon and oilman T Boone Pickens bought the water rights to tens of thousands of acres of the Ogalalla aquifer about 15 years ago. Maybe the 1/10 of 1% just buy everything in sight or maybe their investments are tempered with better knowledge than that to which the rest of us have access. Especially when pundits out shout scientists with the help of media controlled by the same 1/10 of 1%. Maybe even the primitive climate models of 15-20 years ago already showed the likelihood of climate change. Maybe when we read media controlled by those who have a vested interest in what we hear we should read between the lines.

      • 15-20 years ago, the public had a better understanding of climate change than they do today. Read from that what you will. I like Boone when he builds wind farms. The rest …

  7. Mark from New England

     /  July 22, 2014

    “Soaring Meat Consumption Bigger Problem Than Thought: New research suggests giving up red meat in particular would be more impactful environmental choice than giving up your car”

    I thought about Robert when I first saw this article!

  8. Raymond DeBrane

     /  July 22, 2014

    Looks like what Prof Guy McPherson has been saying about near term human extinction beginning around 2030 might just well be close to right.

    • Low potential so soon. Under BAU we may set up conditions by end century, though. Civilization stresses will occur on a faster time table, though.

      On a related point, those looking to exploit this situation will only worsen the outcomes. Anyone not pushing to save as many people and to prevent as much harm as possible is simply in the process of transforming themselves into inhuman monsters and, perhaps, the worst examples of inhumanity in our race’s history.

      This, very ugly, mindset appears well in place now for a growing group. A kind of intraspecies sabotage…

      • Mark from New England

         /  July 22, 2014


        I find what you just wrote: “This, very ugly, mindset appears well in place now for a growing group. A kind of intraspecies sabotage.” a bit cryptical.

        Could you elaborate a bit? Are you referring to climate change deniers in general, people like the Koch Brothers who know better but push “full coal and oil ahead”, our political leaders?

        If American (and Canadian, Australian, etc.) society should lurch even further to the right and become more openly fascist, perhaps under emergency conditions; I can see the day coming when fighting climate change will become illegal. Some (more) of us may have to risk our relative freedoms to have an impact on the trajectory of increasing carbon emissions. And it won’t be volunteering for arrest at civil disobedience actions.

        • The cynical climate change deniers, the misanthropes/sociopaths who know better but seem to attempt to game the system for short-term personal gain at the expense of larger groups and bet they can secure a place on so-called ‘life-boats’ if/when TSHTF. I really have zero use for people who think this way.

          I’d put the Koch Brothers on that list. But there are many more.

    • Joni

       /  July 22, 2014

      Guy Mcpherson is a deluded fool, using the E-word (exponential) to satisfy his dreams of cruelty, while lacking the evidence to do so.

      • Raymond DeBrane

         /  July 22, 2014

        What proof do you have of all that? Guy McPherson seems to me to be a caring person who is just telling it like it is. Most of what he says comes from other scientific sources. Anybody can watch some of his live audience slide shows on YouTube and then check with the sources of the information he presents to see if those sources say what Prof McPherson says they do. How can you call the Prof a deluded fool when he quotes other scientific sources and on top of that has a doctorate in evolutionary and conservation biology, and natural resources? I think he’s a man ahead of the curve, just like scientist John Mercer was in 1978 when he said that if we keep burning fossil fuels, we will melt the glaciers. His colleagues all thought he was nuts. Too bad he ain’t here to see himself proven right. So don’t be so dismissive of Prof McPherson, and please don’t call him mean names. It seems to me that you are the one employing cruelty, not the good Prof.

        • BAU gets us to trouble, probably slower than Guy is warning, but it still gets us there. Guy advocates for a complete cessation of fossil fuel use, with which I entirely agree. I certainly wouldn’t compare him with the Kochs even if I think his timetable is a bit fast overall.

          Let’s not devolve into sniping, guys. We can agree to disagree on points of climate change context.

          My own mini-rant was based on some language I’ve seen in the climate-related denial posts lately taking an even darker spin than usual. I tend to avoid such nonsense, but they do telegraph a mindset that’s I’m invested in dissipating. I wasn’t trying to stir the pot here. So forgive me for being obtuse.

    • NTE by 2030 ain’t gonna happen — too many aerosols in the sky which will only increase as we turn to filthier fossil fuels and even trees, despite the fact that Rufsnet and Exxon-Mobil are set to exploit the methane clathrates under the ESAS. Between 2100 and 3000, on the other hand, is in my opinion greater than 95% certain.

      • I’m in the post 2100 camp as well. We’d need a very steep exponential feedback to hit NTE by 2030. In my view, that probably approaches the least likely scenario.

        This century is critical, these decades are critical. We need to rapidly cease fossil fuel burning now.

      • Yes, exactly, Robert. And IMO the basis for ending FF dependency NOW is what I call the converse to Dick Cheney’s One Percent Doctrine: if there’s a 1% opportunity to escape Disaster (and there is between 1% and 5% max with AGW), then we must take appropriate action!

      • 😀

  9. Raymond DeBrane

     /  July 22, 2014

    I think the Koch Brothers and other oil and coal billionaires will have to bargain with the military and pay them huge amounts of cash to secure a place in underground shelters such as DUMBS. I strongly suspect that when TSHTF, those rich guys will be tossed out as human garbage when money becomes worthless and there’s nothing more to be gained by the military by giving them food, water, shelter, etc. Since the military is well armed, I’m fairly sure that the military will shoot them down without care or remorse to save the resources they would consume to use for more deserving people. It will be a just end for them all.

    • The military can now legally operate on domestic soil. Cdn + US govt and military signed an agreement a couple of years ago such that they can operate on each others soil during unrest. All the Kochs (and ilk) need to do is own those that tell the military what to do. They have this covered. Greedy yes, and also quite smart.

      • Clever, but not smart. Smart people don’t invest in fossil fuels and suppress the alternatives. The Kochs are two clever chaps who’ve long since lost limbic brain functionality.

      • I’d also call them monstrous ignoramuses and lump them in with the villainous personas of our age. But that’s neither here nor there when it comes to what’s smart.

        In any case, I seriously doubt the Kochs will be able to leverage special military protection, especially when it’s completely obvious to military planners that they’re fighting for the wrong side.

      • To this point, you may want to read the book — Soft Apocalypse.

        At some point, the military becomes saturated with problems and loses broader functioning. We have 10,000 people fighting fires on the west coast right now. Two brigades worth just to fight fires. How will it look in twenty years? What happens when you’re dealing with mass migration, probably violent unrest, states bordering on collapse, people rioting because their seaside homes were destroyed and there’s no insurance or disaster relief money left, people starving because the Kochs pushed them off food stamps, food riots because the crops failed and people like the Kochs pushed them off food stamps. Who are the people in the military going to sympathize with? The Kochs? You end up with that level of corruption and the whole system collapses pretty quick.

        I’m thinking the Kochs have their oxes gored long before that point.

        • Raymond DeBrane

           /  July 23, 2014

          to Robert,
          I believe, even now, politicians know they are working for the wrong side. Ditto conservative media personalities. As long as the Kochs and other billionaires keep the money flowing to them, they will continue to shill for the wrong side. I think they and the military will take all the money they can get from those guys until things get so out of hand that the banks and the government, and the populace are crippled by financial and environmental collapse, massive gasoline shortages, people out of work that can’t pay for the gas that is available, and not able to pay for food at the grocery store, if it is still available. Then and only then will the Kochs and their ilk become excess baggage, expendable.
          If you expect the people in general to come for the Kochs and their ilk, half the country won’t because they are hopelessly brainwashed by conservative media types to be for the policies of the Kochs, and to hate and despise billionaire George Soros, who is fighting the Kochs. Most people I’ve talked to never even heard of the Kochs, and they have no idea of the big picture of what those billionaires are up to and how bad a state the world is in right now because of climate change. Add to that that even people in this blog think that Prof Guy McPherson is wrong about NTE beginning around 2030, and you have people thinking that that can’t happen. It’s too soon. Everybody please Google John Mercer and read about his 1978 prediction about if we keep burning fossil fuels, we will melt the glaciers. As I mentioned previously, he took a lot of flack from his colleagues,, but modern scientists have found him to be a profit.

          Thanks for the book recommendation.

        • Corrupt political systems fail, media systems based on propaganda fail, and, in the end, people come after the Kochs. Absolutely.

          In any case, I’m not so cynical as to believe that the Kochs own the system or that the situation is quite so altogether dark. Do the conservatives own the system? They’ve been more and more marginalized despite massive sums of money expended. They wouldn’t work so hard to suppress the vote if elections didn’t matter.

  10. Robert, I would love to reblog the string of comments concerning the Koch brothers and the top 0.1% over at my blog, Fin des Voies Rapides. Thank you.

  1. Sea Surface Temperatures Push Globe To Hottest June Yet | GarryRogers Nature Conservation
  2. Sea Surface Temperatures Push Globe To Hottest June Yet | GarryRogers Nature Conservation

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