2014 closed out with the hottest worldwide December temperature on record in the 135 years since record keeping began. The month was also one of six months of the year 2014 where a new high temperature for a given month was recorded. The temperature averaged 1.39 degrees F above the twentieth century average temperature of 54 deg F. Off the California coast, ocean temperatures continued to reach record high levels. According to the global analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “During December 2014, record warmth was observed in much of the far eastern Pacific, particularly near the North American coast.” The warm seas appear to correlate with a persistent high pressure ridge that has dominated the region during the prevailing drought conditions in California. The record high temperatures occurred without the presence of an El Nino, also called ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation). Previous record highs occurred during a strong El Nino event in 1997-1998, but now temperatures have reach similar high levels without the help of that periodically recurring weather pattern.
Some scientists suspect that the unusually high ocean temperatures off the West Coast contribute to more rapidly recurring large fluctuations in upper atmospheric winds, the so-called “planetary waves.” Winds rush northward around the Pacific Ocean high pressure area into arctic regions, where they then return south carrying cold arctic air to the eastern part of the USA. Thus warming oceans can create drought in California and frigid conditions in regions to the east.
Meanwhile, more than half of the Republicans who now control the House of Representatives deny human caused climate change. A source of acute national embarrassment, these politicians define the most dangerous corruption of the USA political scene today. They continue to pander shamelessly to ignorance and moneyed interests who successfully work to obscure the greatest threat to the planet, the threat of unavoidable climate change.