"Only a sliver of the planet's land surface is having a relatively cool year and it happens to be the eastern U.S.," says Bob Henson, a meteorologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo...
"Globally it is very likely that 2014 will be the warmest on record," Tom Peterson, the principal scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, tells NBCNews.com. Global maps show "some very warm areas, a lot of moderately warm areas and only a few areas that were cold," he adds.
So if most of the globe is warming, what gives with the recent cold blasts in areas east of the Rockies?
The events "started with exceptionally warm sea temperatures in the Pacific that led to the super Typhoon Nuri," says Kevin Trenberth, an atmospheric scientist at NCAR. On Nov. 8, the typhoon became "incredibly intense … advanced to the north and brought very warm air up into Alaska and into the Arctic."
"The cold air had to go somewhere else and it did: down across the U.S.," says Trenberth. "By Nov. 12 the very cold air over North America was matched by very warm air over Alaska and the Arctic"