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Driven by record warm oceans, Earth's average temperature last month was again well above normal and 2014 continues on a pace to be the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, federal scientists reported Monday. Last month tied as the seven-warmest November, and January-November was the warmest such period on record, just clipping the previous record set in 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated in releasing the data.

Combining both land and ocean temperatures, January-November was the warmest on record, eclipsing 2010 by 0.02 degrees F. What really has driven the overall global warmth is the fact that ocean temperatures for January-November were the warmest on record: 0.07 degrees F above the previous record in 1998. 2010 holds the record for warmest full year, so what would it take for 2014 to break that?

"If December 2014 ranks among the 10 warmest on record, 2014 will end up being the warmest year on record for the globe," Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, tells And the chances of that? "We have had just one month this year — February — that did not place among the 10 warmest on record for that particular month," notes Deke Arndt, climate monitoring chief at the NCDC. "Before that, you would need to go back to April 2013."



— Miguel Llanos