2014 was the hottest year ever recorded in the state of California, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and it was so by a significant margin. NOAA reported Thursday that the state's average temperature was 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.3 degrees Celsius, above the twentieth-century average.
"We do have a long-term warming trend across the globe, across the U.S. and in California," Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with NOAA, told the San Jose Mercury News, which released the data. "This really warm year is just an exclamation point on top of a warming trend for that part of the country."
Climate scientists have said that rising temperatures have contributed to smoggier air and extreme weather events in the state, according to SF Gate. The biggest effects have been seen, however, in one of the worst droughts to ever hit the state. Three other Western states -- Alaska, Arizona and Nevada -- also experienced their hottest years since 1895, when modern instruments were first used, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
California's drought has been linked by scientists to man-made climate change. 2014 was the third consecutive year that the Golden State experienced unusually dry conditions, and the year represented the warmest period in the state since 1895.
"[The extent to which 2014 was California's hottest year was] by a pretty wide margin," Daniel Swain of Stanford University's Department of Environmental Earth System Science told the Desert Sun. "That long-term warming trend is very much paralleling what we're seeing on a global basis."
â€” NOAA NCDC (@NOAANCDC) January 8, 2015
â€” NOAA (@NOAA) January 8, 2015
From a global perspective too, 2014 was the warmest year on record, according to data released by the Japan Meteorological Association, which said that the worldwide average surface temperature was the highest since records began in 1891.
The top 10 of the hottest years on record have come after 1998, which many scientists attribute to global warming, according to the Scientific American.