2013 ends up as 4th-warmest year ever for Planet Earth

Many ocean regions record warm, even without El Niño


A few spots reported near-record cold in Dec. 2013, but most of the planet saw temperatures well above average during the month, especially the southern hemisphere. Map courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Nearly the whole world was warmer than average in 2013, with parts of central Asia, western Ethiopia, eastern Tanzania, and much of southern and western Australia reporting record warmth. No regions of the world were record-cold in 2013.

With record warmth in parts of the Arctic Ocean and a large swath of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 2013 ended up tied with 2005 as the fourth-warmest year on record for Planet Earth, according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center 2013 global climate report.

At the same time, the NSDC released the December 2013 global State of the Climate report, showing that the month ranked as the third-warmest on record, at 1.15 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average.

According to NOAA, December also marked the eighth straight month (since May 2013) with a global monthly temperature ranking among the top 10 highest for its respective month.  The Southern Hemisphere was second warmest for the month over land, behind only the record high temperature set just last year in December 2012.

For December, record warmth was observed across much of southern and western Australia, southwestern Ethiopia, eastern Tanzania, part of central Asia around Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, a large section of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, and small regions of the Arctic, central Pacific, and central Indian Oceans.

Temperatures were cooler than average across part of the central United States, a region where record warmth prevailed in 2012, along with small sections of the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean off the tip of South America.

With 2013 factored in, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit per decade from 1880 to 2013 and at an average rate of 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit per decade during the past 50 years.

Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for December 2013, published online January 2014, retrieved on January 21, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global./2013/12.


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