2014 (MMXIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2014th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 14th year of the 3rd millennium and the 21st century, and the 5th year of the 2010s decade.
The U.S. experienced a significant recovery from the major 2012 drought on a national scale during 2013, while a notable feature of 2014 was a resurgence of drought at the start of the year. The national drought area expanded during spring 2014, but was followed by a contraction later in the year. In the bigger picture, 2014 follows a trend of national recovery from the major drought of 2012.
On a month-by-month basis, 2014 was characterized by large areas of dry weather which were more than counterbalanced by large areas of wet weather. Three months (January, February, and June) had ten percent or more of the country experiencing very dry precipitation anomalies (at the tenth percentile of the historical record or drier), while four (April, June, August, and September) had ten percent or more of the country experiencing very wet anomalies (monthly precipitation totals at the 90th percentile of the historical record or wetter). One month (January) had more than a fourth (25 percent) of the country very dry, while one (August) had more than a fourth of the country very wet. When averaged together, the wet and dry anomalies resulted in the fifth driest January, nationally, in the 1895-2014 record, fifth wettest June, and tenth wettest August.
The 2014 calendar year began with 51.4 percent of the West in moderate to exceptional drought (according to weekly USDM statistics). The percent area expanded to 64.5 percent by mid-February, hovered around 60 percent during spring to late summer, and ended the year at 54.5 percent. A similar variation in the percent area over time is seen in monthly statistics based on the Palmer Drought Index. The year began with 35.7 percent of the West in moderate to extreme drought, with the area expanding to 69.2 percent by the end of June, and shrinking to 29.5 percent by the end of the year.
The early drought expansion occurred because the West started the 2013-2014 hydrologic year (water year, October 2013-September 2014) on a very dry note, with the dryness centered in California to southern Oregon and extending across the Pacific Northwest and into northern Nevada. The West region (California-Nevada) had the 22nd driest October, 29th driest November, sixth driest December, and third driest January in the 1895-2014 record. With two of the normally wettest months sixth and third driest, the water year through January 2014 ranked as the driest October-January on record for the West region. The Northwest region (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) had the ninth driest October, 24th driest November, eighth driest December, and 19th driest January, resulting in the third driest October-January on record. The Southwest region (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah) was drier than normal for most months from December 2013 through June 2014, with December 2013-April 2014 and December 2013-June 2014 both ranking sixth driest on record.
Recovery from the drought began during late winter and spring for some parts of the West, but by late spring the normal wet season is over for the Far West. Precipitation for February and March 2014 was near normal for the West region and well above normal for the Northwest region. Nevertheless, by the end of the wet season, the West region still had the third driest October-May and the Northwest region the 24th driest October-May, and by the end of the 2013-2014 water year, the West region had the fourth driest October-September.
Summer is the normal wet season for the Southwest. Rainfall from summer monsoon showers and remnants of tropical systems gave the Southwest region its second wettest July-September on record. The 2014-2015 water year started dry, but beneficial rain in December 2014 gave the West region the 46th wettest October-December and the 44th driest January-December for 2014.
Persistent and unusually warm temperatures occurred in the West during 2014, with the West region having the warmest year in the 120-year record. Three states (Arizona, California, and Nevada) logged the warmest year on record, while five others (New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) ranked in the top ten warmest category. By increasing evapotranspiration, the hot temperatures intensified the drought conditions. This was especially true for California, which has suffered through three consecutive hydrologic years with drier than normal conditions. Indeed, six of the last eight hydrologic years have been drier than normal for California. The Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) integrates the effects of both drier and warmer than normal conditions. When the unusual warmth in California during the last three decades is combined with the excessive dryness of the last several years, the statewide SPEI reaches record low levels, both for the 12-month time scale (August 2013-July 2014) and the 36-month time scale (August 2011-July 2014).
Like the SPEI, the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) is another drought index that integrates both moisture supply and moisture demand. The very dry and record hot conditions during 2014 drove the PHDI to record low levels for many parts of California, including the Central Coast Drainage (climate division 4), the San Joaquin Drainage (climate division 5), and the South Coast Drainage (climate division 6), as well as statewide. Some of these analyses show a disturbing trend toward more extreme droughts over the last 40 years in California. Impacts from the severity of the 2014 dryness, and the prolonged multi-year drought in California, included diminished reservoirs, low streamflows, dried out wells, and ravaged crop and rangeland.
Drought expanded in the Great Plains during spring 2014 but above-normal rainfall during the summer caused it to contract. At its peak, 35.9 percent of the High Plains (Central to Northern Plains) and 54.4 percent of the Southern Plains were in moderate to exceptional drought in early May. Kansas had the third driest and Oklahoma the eleventh driest March-May during 2014. The first five months of 2014 were each drier than normal for Oklahoma, with the state ranking third driest for January-May. Texas had the fifth driest January-April. By late fall, abnormal dryness and drought began redeveloping in the Northern Plains. In spite of some wetter-than-normal months during 2014, the year still ended up drier than normal for Oklahoma and Texas. It marked the fourth consecutive drier-than-normal year for Texas, while four of the last five years have been drier than normal for Oklahoma. By the end of the year, 33.9 percent of the Southern Plains was still in moderate to exceptional drought.
The Midwest began 2014 with 17.7 percent of the region in moderate to severe drought, according to the USDM. Spring and summer precipitation reduced the drought area to less than 1 percent by September.
Precipitation the first weeks of 2014 eliminated vestiges of leftover 2013 drought in the Northeast region, but dry conditions during the fall of 2014 caused moderate drought to return, expanding to about 3.8 percent of the region by mid-October. Heavy rain late in the year greatly reduced the Southeast and Northeast drought areas.
Puerto Rico began 2014 with abnormally dry conditions on the USDM map. Very dry weather during the summer of 2014 over the southern and eastern portions of the island resulted in the introduction of moderate drought conditions in July, with a peak coverage of 17.7 percent of the island by July 29th. Subsequent above-normal rainfall eliminated the drought area and greatly reduced the abnormally dry area by late fall.
The poverty guidelines are the other version of the federal poverty measure. They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs. The Federal Register notice of the 2014 poverty guidelines is available.
The following figures are the 2014 HHS poverty guidelines which are scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2014. (Additional information will be posted after the guidelines are published.)
The poverty guidelines (unlike the poverty thresholds) are designated by the year in which they are issued. For instance, the guidelines issued in January 2014 are designated the 2014 poverty guidelines. However, the 2014 HHS poverty guidelines only reflect price changes through calendar year 2013; accordingly, they are approximately equal to the Census Bureau poverty thresholds for calendar year 2013. (The 2013 thresholds are expected to be issued in final form in September 2014; a preliminary version of the 2013 thresholds is now available from the Census Bureau.)
The 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report is available in PDF and HTML formats. Due to its large size, the PDF has been separated into sections for easier download. To view the PDF file, you will need to download, at no cost, the Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 is submitted in compliance with Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f (the "Act"), which requires the Department of State to provide to Congress a full and complete annual report on terrorism for those countries and groups meeting the criteria of the Act. The report was published April 2015.
The 2014 WMO/UNEP assessment, Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2014, contains the most up-to-date understanding of ozone depletion. It reflects the thinking of hundreds of international scientific experts who contribute to its preparation and review. Cochairs of this Ozone Assessment were Dr. A.R. Ravishankara of Colorado State University and the NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division, USA, Dr. Paul A. Newman of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, Dr. John A. Pyle of the University of Cambridge, UK, and Dr. Ayité-Lô Nohende Ajavon of the North-South Environment, Togo. Other members of the ESRL Chemical Sciences Division are making substantial contributions to the report, serving as coauthors, contributors, reviewers, coordinating editor, and editorial and computing support staff. 041b061a72