2014 has officially taken the title as hottest year ever recorded, as the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) becomes the first to release its temperature data for last year.
The JMA is the first of four record-keepers to release its data, and the NOAA and NASA are both expected to make similar calls in the next few weeks.
It confirms projections made by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and others late last year that showed 2014 on course to take the top spot.
The data highlights the march upwards of the world’s average temperature since 1891 and the decades of data collected make one thing clear: the world is steadily and rapidly warming.
All 10 of the world’s hottest recorded years have come since 1998, and 14 of 15 of the hottest years ever measured have all been in the 21st Century.
The average temperature in 2014 was 1.1F above the 20th century average, according to JMA, edging out the previous record year, 1998, by about 0.1F.
However, there is one big difference between 2014 and 1998: the latter was on the tail end of a super El Nino, a weather phenomenon that has the tendency to spike temperatures.
In comparison, 2014 was the year of the almost El Nino.
Instead the recent trend of steadily climbing temperatures is the result of what happens when records amount of carbon pollution are spewed into the air.
Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are currently at levels not seen for millions of years – when the planet was far hotter and sea levels tens of feet higher.
If the world doesn’t slash its fossil fuel use, and make a transition to renewable energy, scientists warn temperatures could hurtle past the critical danger threshold of 2C in less than 50 years.
Last year’s record land temperatures, alongside unusually high sea temperatures, also brought a year of climate anomalies in 2014, ushering in damaging and destructive weather events such as intense rainfall and flooding in many regions and extreme drought in others.
Heat waves struck Tunisia, Australia and elsewhere, while droughts crippled agriculture in central Brazil, the western US, and northern China.
The UK also had its hottest and its fourth wettest year since record keeping began.