Climate: March global temps 10th-warmest on record

Central Asia and western Arctic are hot spots for the month

Much of the globe recorded above-average temperatures in March, 2013, with the month ending up as tied with 2006 as the 10th-warmest on record. Graphic courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite well below-average temperatures across some parts of the U.S. and Europe, global temperatures in March 2013 averaged out to equal March 2006 as 10th-warmest on record, at 1.04 degrees above the 20th century average.

Warmer-than-average temperatures were recorded across big stretches of the Atlantic Ocean, almost all of Africa, northern South America, Australia, the Middle East and Southern Asia, according to the National Climatic Data Center’s monthly update.

For the year-to-date (January to March), the globally averaged temperature was the 8th-warmest on record, also at 1.04 degrees above the 20th century average. Land-surface temperatures were the seventh-warmest and global ocean temperatures were the eighth-warmest on record, with record warmth over a large area of the Indian Ocean south of Australia.

The global tropical belt, between 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south, was notable for its warmth, recording the third-warmest readings of all time for March. Most of northern Africa, along with northern South America and northern Australia, were also much warmer than average.

Cold weather was focused across the eastern U.S. and most of Europe, European Russia, and northern Siberia. Notable cold areas included:

  • The UK experienced its coldest March since 1962 (tied for second coldest since records began in 1910), with the average temperature 3.3°C (5.9°F) below the 1981–2010 average. It was also the coolest of any month since December 2010. No region was warmer than average for the the month.
  • In Norway, the average March temperature was 3.0°C (5.4°F) below the 1971–2000 average. The largest negative departures of 4°–6°C (7°–11°F) occurred at the higher altitudes of southern Norway and Finnmark plateau, according to Meteorologisk institutt.
  • Germany observed its fifth coolest March since records began in 1881 and second coolest in the past 50 years, with the monthly average temperature 4.2°C (7.6°F) below the 1981–2010 average.

Announcing the results of the global State of the Climate report, federal scientists said the Pacific Ocean is expected to remain in a neutral state, with neither El Niño or La Niña conditions, through the end of the summer.

Other persistent global patterns, including a cooler-than-average North Pacific and warm sea surface temps in the North Atlantic are driving an outlook that includes better than average chances for a warm and dry summer across large parts of the U.S. according to Huug van den Dool, a seasonal forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

That could lead to a westward movement of the U.S. drought, van den Dool said, after a National Weather Service hydrologist explained that large parts of the far West experienced well below-average conditions in March.

Information compiled from the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2013, published online April 2013, retrieved on April 18, 2013 from


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