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Global warming: October 2011 the 10th-warmest on record

Northern hemisphere snow cover, Arctic sea ice extent well below average for the month

Year-to-date temperatures have been above average across most of the planet. GRAPHIC COURTESY NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Planet Earth stayed warm in October, with combined average land and ocean-surface temperatures coming in at 1.04 degrees above the 20th century average, a reading that made it the 10th-warmest October on record, and the second-warmest for land surface temperatures alone, according to the global summary issued this week by the National Climatic Data Center.

On the whole, October 2011 was much warmer than normal compared with previous Octobers. On average, land areas across the Northern Hemisphere — where the majority of the Earth’s land mass is located — were the warmest on record for the month, at 2.32 degrees above the 20th century average.

Despite early snowfall in some parts of the Rockies and in the Northeast, northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during October was below average, ranking as the 15th smallest October snow cover extent in the 44-year period of record. The North America and Eurasian land areas both had below-average snow cover during the month.

And while global warming deniers were busy trumpeting Arctic sea ice growth, the fact is that the average Arctic sea ice extent in October was 23.5 percent below average for the month, ranking as the second smallest October extent since satellite records began in 1979. The extent was 2.19 million square kilometers (846,000 square miles) below average and 330,000 square kilometers (127,000 square miles) above the record low October extent set in 2007.

The global land surface temperature was 1.98 degrees above the 20th century average of 48. degrees, making this the second warmest October on record. Warmer-than-average conditions prevailed across Alaska, Canada, most of Europe and Russia, and Mongolia. Much of central and northern Russia recorded temperatures more than 9 degrees above average.

Temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere were also above average, ranking as the 16th-warmest on record. However, most of southern and western South America was cooler than average. According to the Argentina Meteorological Service, several locations in Argentina experienced their coolest October in five decades.

Cooler-than-average regions also were reported from the southeastern United States, parts of Algeria and Libya, parts of Eastern Europe, and far southeast Asia.

The year-to-date is the 10th-warmest on record, and the sixth-warmest for land-surface temperatures.

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for October 2011, published online November 2011, retrieved on November 15, 2011 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/10.

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3 Responses

  1. Bob, as the data continues to accumulate as to the changes in climate, temperature, etc., I can’t help but wonder how all this controversy would be playing out today, had the word “change” been used instead of “warming” after the word “global”? We can debate the whys & wherefores till the cows come home, but that doesn’t change the facts. I find it must be difficult for those who deny the changes, due to the investment of time & ego in their position, But then, we still have the flat earth people, the humans & dinosaurs roaming together crowd, etc. Such is life.

    • Well, others have suggested using the the term climate change, or climate disruption. Global warming is politically charged, but I still believe it’s the most accurate phrase. All the “changes” and “disruptions” are due to the fact that the Earth is incontrovertibly getting warmer, there’s no getting around that fact, even if you want to dance with semantics.

  2. Strange – according to UAH data, October was the coldest since 2000. I note that when I go to the NOAA link provided above, the “10th warmest on record” claim is based on satellite data. Presumably, “record” means just a few decades (since satellites were used).

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