Earth is on track to experience its hottest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The worldwide combined average land and water temperature for October clocked in at 58.43 degrees Fahrenheit—the warmest recorded October since record-keeping started in 1880. October has not recorded a below-average global temperature since 1976.
NOAA also says the 10-month interval from January to October has been the hottest such stretch on record.
It won't be clear until January whether 2014 will become the hottest year on record. But with just two months to go, scientists say that global temperatures would have to plummet in the final two months to stay below the previous hottest year, 2010.
Climate scientists say Earth's temperature will continue to rise due to the greenhouse-gas effect of human emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping molecules. Ninety-five percent of scientists agree that climate change is real and that it is driven by human activity, including deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.