Although temperatures across parts of the U.S. have been running cooler than average this year, today's global temperatures update is a vivid reminder that what’s going on locally doesn't always reflect the big picture. According to the National Climatic Data Center, last month was officially the warmest September on record.
Not only that: when you average out the first nine months of the year, 2014 ties 2010 and 1998 for the warmest such period globally. With just three months left to go until the new year begins, it’s natural to wonder what it would take for 2014 to be hotter than 2010, which was the warmest calendar year globally since modern record-keeping began.
Climate Central ran the numbers a few ways, and the animated graphic above shows how things might play out. If October, November and December are as warm as the warmest of each month on record, 2014 will definitely end up as the warmest year on record. If those three months match their average temperatures between 2000-2013, which already has nine of the ten warmest years on record, they’ll still give 2010 a run for its money. If October-December match their average monthly temperatures for 1981-2010, though, 2014 won't crack the top 5 hottest years on record globally.
For a more detailed look at where 2014 could end up, click on the interactive graphic below.