Global Highlights

  • The December 2014 average combined global land and ocean surface temperature was record high in the 135-year period of record, at 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 12.2°C (54.0°F).

  • The December 2014 globally-averaged land surface temperature was the third highest on record, at 1.36°C (2.45°F) above average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature was also third highest for December on record, at 0.55°C (0.99°F) above average.

  • The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January–December 2014 was the highest on record among all years in the 135-year period of record, at 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average.


Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v3b) anomaly analysis developed by Smith et al. (2008). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth's surface. The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure—depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the December 2014 height and anomaly mapDecember 2014 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.


The December 2014 globally-averaged temperature across land and ocean surfaces was 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the 20th century average of 12.2°C (54.0°F), the highest on record for December since records began in 1880, surpassing the previous record set in 2006 by 0.02°C (0.04°F). This is the 10th consecutive month (since March 2014) with a global monthly temperature ranking among the seven highest for its respective month. December also marks the sixth month of 2014 to set a new monthly high temperature record.

The global land surface temperature was 1.36°C (2.45°F) above average, the third highest on record for December. The Northern Hemisphere was fifth warmest for the month over land, while the Southern Hemisphere had its 10th highest December land temperature in the 135-year period of record. Across the globe, warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across nearly all of North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia. The highest temperature anomalies (more than 5°C / 9°F above the 1981–2010 average) were observed in parts of Alaska and Siberia. It was cooler than average across part of Far East Russia, small regions of southern and southeast Asia and much of Namibia, according to the December Land & Ocean Temperatures Departure from Average and Percentiles maps above.

Select national information is highlighted below:
  • With a nationally-averaged temperature 2.4°C (4.3°F) above the 1981–2010 monthly average, December 2014 was among the 15 warmest for Austria in its 247-year period of record. According to ZAMG, no state capital had snow cover on December 25 (Christmas Day) for only the second time since 1946; the other occurrence was in 2006.
  • Even with a cold end to the month, December was still 1.5°C (2.7°F) higher than the 1961–1990 average for Norway. Northern Norway was 1.9°C (3.4°F) warmer than its long-term average.
  • In Iceland, the average December temperature was 0.5°C (0.9°F) cooler than the 1961–1990 average and 1.4°C (2.5°F) cooler than the average of the last 10 years.
  • The warmth from Australia's record warm spring (September–November) stretched into the beginning of summer as the country observed its sixth warmest December on record, with a temperature 0.90°C (1.62°F) higher than the 1961–1990 monthly average. The monthly maximum and minimum temperatures were both above average. The warmth was also spread across the country, with every state and territory seeing December temperatures above their respective averages.
  • The contiguous United States ended the year quite differently than it began, with a December temperature second warmest on record, behind only 1939, at 2.2°C (3.9°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This month, the warmth was spread across the US, compared with much of the remainder of 2014, where the eastern half experienced below-average temperatures.

For the oceans, the globally-averaged temperature anomaly of +0.55°C (+0.99°F) was the third highest on record for December, marking the end of a seven-month streak (May–November) of record high monthly temperatures. For the 32nd straight month, ENSO-neutral conditions persisted in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, as of early January 2015 there is about a 50–60 percent chance of El Niño conditions during the next two months, with ENSO-neutral once again favored thereafter.

During December 2014, record warmth was observed in much of the far eastern Pacific, particularly near the North American coast, parts of the northwestern and southwestern Atlantic, parts of the Norwegian Sea, and regions of the Indian Ocean around and to the east of Madagascar. Parts of the north central and southeastern Pacific Ocean, regions of the North Atlantic south of Greenland, and a region in the equatorial Atlantic were cooler or much cooler than average, with no areas of the global oceans record cold. Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2014 from the weekly SST page.

December Ranks and Records
(out of 135 years)
Land+1.36 ± 0.12+2.45 ± 0.22Warmest3rd2003, 2006+1.41+2.54
Ocean+0.55 ± 0.04+0.99 ± 0.07Warmest3rd1997, 2009+0.58+1.04
Land and Ocean+0.77 ± 0.07+1.39 ± 0.13Warmest1st2014+0.77+1.39
Coolest135th1910, 1916-0.56-1.01
Northern Hemisphere
Land+1.58 ± 0.11+2.84 ± 0.20Warmest5th1939+1.79+3.22
Ocean+0.64 ± 0.07+1.15 ± 0.13Warmest1st2014+0.64+1.15
Land and Ocean+0.99 ± 0.08+1.78 ± 0.14Warmest1st2006, 2014+0.99+1.78
Ties: 2006
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.77 ± 0.12+1.39 ± 0.22Warmest10th2012, 2013+0.94+1.69
Ocean+0.50 ± 0.04+0.90 ± 0.07Warmest4th1997+0.62+1.12
Land and Ocean+0.54 ± 0.06+0.97 ± 0.11Warmest5th1997+0.66+1.19
Ties: 2003
Land and Ocean+2.27 ± 0.70+4.09 ± 1.26Warmest7th2006+2.83+5.09
Year-to-date (January–December)

The January-December 2014 Blended Land and Ocean Surface Temperature Anomalies in degree CelsiusJanuary–December map of temperature anomalies shows that warmer-than-average temperatures occurred across the vast majority of the globe during 2014, combining to bring overall record warmth for 2014, at 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average. This easily surpasses the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). Notably, global temperatures were not majorly influenced by ENSO conditions throughout the year. The last time an annual temperature record was broken with no warm-phase El Niño conditions present during the year was in 1990, as indicated by the CPC Oceanic Niño Index. The record warm (at the time) temperature anomaly for 1990 was 0.40°C (0.70°F) above the 20th century average.

Separately, the 2014 average global ocean surface temperature was also the highest on record, at 0.55°C (0.99°F) above average, breaking the record of 2003 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). With respect to rankings, the land surface temperature was not far behind, at fourth highest on record.

The Northern Hemisphere was also record warm across land and ocean surfaces, while the Southern Hemisphere was second warmest, behind only 1998. Thus, record warmth was spread around the world, including Far East Russia into western Alaska, the western United States, parts of interior South America, most of Europe stretching into northern Africa, parts of eastern and western coastal Australia, much of the northeastern Pacific, notably around the Gulf of Alaska, the central to western equatorial Pacific, large swaths of northwestern and southeastern Atlantic, most of the Norwegian Sea, and parts of the central to southern Indian Ocean. Also noteworthy, it was much warmer than average across for many other land and ocean regions all across the globe. Temperatures were much cooler than average primarily across parts of the eastern half of the United States, part of the Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland, and coastal waters off the Southern tip of South America, with one localized region record cold for the year. Please refer to the NCDC State of the Climate Annual Global Analysis report for more detailed information.

January–December Ranks and Records
(out of 135 years)
Land+1.00 ± 0.20+1.80 ± 0.36Warmest4th2007+1.08+1.94
Ocean+0.57 ± 0.04+1.03 ± 0.07Warmest1st2014+0.57+1.03
Coolest135th1909, 1910-0.45-0.81
Land and Ocean+0.69 ± 0.09+1.24 ± 0.16Warmest1st2014+0.69+1.24
Northern Hemisphere
Land+1.03 ± 0.25+1.85 ± 0.45Warmest4th2007+1.21+2.18
Ocean+0.65 ± 0.05+1.17 ± 0.09Warmest1st2014+0.65+1.17
Land and Ocean+0.80 ± 0.15+1.44 ± 0.27Warmest1st2014+0.80+1.44
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.93 ± 0.11+1.67 ± 0.20Warmest1st2005, 2014+0.93+1.67
Ties: 2005
Ocean+0.52 ± 0.03+0.94 ± 0.05Warmest4th1998+0.54+0.97
Land and Ocean+0.58 ± 0.06+1.04 ± 0.11Warmest2nd1998+0.59+1.06
Land and Ocean+1.36 ± 0.17+2.45 ± 0.31Warmest4th2007+1.49+2.68

The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2014 from the weekly SST page.


The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left) and precipitation percentiles (right) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations using a base period of 1961–1990. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during December 2014 varied significantly around the world.

  • Typhoon Hagupit (named Ruby in the Philippines) impacted the Philippines in early December, making landfall on December 6 over Delores, Eastern Samar with 10-minute sustained winds of 165 km per hour (105 miles per hr) and then a second landfall the next day over Cataingan, Masbate. The storm moved slowly over the island, dropping close to 460 mm (18 inches) of rain over some land areas.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for December 2014, published online January 2015, retrieved on May 22, 2024 from