Climate: August 2012 global temps 4th-warmest on record

Land-surface temps tied for second; only Siberia cooler than average

A NASA graphic depicts Aug. 2012 temperature anomalies as compared to 1951-1908 average.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Global August temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record, at 1.12 degrees above the 20th century average, the National Climatic Data Center reported in its monthly update. Land-surface temperatures alone tied with 2001 and 2011 as the second-warmest on record, behind 1998, which still holds the all-time record.

The year-to-date is tied with 2006 as the ninth-warmest ever, with temps running about 1.01 degrees above the 20th century average.

Reflecting the long string of above-average global temperatures, Arctic sea ice extent hit a new all-time record low late in August, dipping below 4 million square kilometers for the first time ever. For the month, Arctic sea ice melted at twice the average rate.

Antarctic sea ice during August 2012 was 1.6 percent above average and ranked as fourth largest August extent in the 34-year period of record.

Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were most notable across far eastern Canada, southern Greenland, central and southern Europe, western Kazakhstan, Japan, Western Australia, and Paraguay.

Australia ended a string of cooler-than-average months, reporting August readings of 1.49 degrees Celsius above average, making for the sixth-warmest August since record-keeping started in 1950.

Parts of Siberia were the only significant region with below-temperatures for the month.

Parts of Europe reported near-record readings. with two heat waves in Spain leading to the second-warmest August since national record-keeping started in 1961.

Austria reported its fourth-warmest August on record, leading to the third earliest complete snowmelt on August 19 at the high-elevation mountain station in Sonnblick. Another notable Austrian peak lost most of its snow and ice cover during the month, leading to the potential collapse of a summit monument.


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