Southern hemisphere, large expanses of ocean were warmer than average
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — February global temperatures ranked as tied with 2003 as the ninth-warmest on record, with above average readings across nearly the entire southern hemisphere — the seventh warmest February on record after all-time high temps in December and January. The year-to-date is also tied (with 2005) as the ninth-warmest on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly global analysis.
Australia cooled of slightly after record-setting temps in January, but still ended up with its all-time warmest summer, with temps for December 2012 through February 2012 running 2.59 degrees above average.
Northern hemisphere temperatures were marked by strong contrasts between warm and cold air masses, typical of winter, and consistent with an emerging pattern of amplified waves of high and low pressure systems “getting stuck” as a result of slowing circumpolar winds.
Despite a persistent large area of cooler-than-average sea surface temps in the eastern Pacific linked with a decadal oscillation, global sea surface readings were remarkably warm — 0.74 degrees above average, the eigth-warmest on record, continuing a trend of warmer ocean temps during non-El Niño years.
Northern hemisphere snow cover was above average by 0.3 million square miles, with snow on the ground across 18 million square miles during the peak of winter — the 16th-largest on record. Both the North American and Eurasian snow cover extents were above average during February.
Arctic sea ice was 270,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, while Antarctic sea ice was 310,000 miles above its average extent for the month.
Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: