Warm, warmer … warmest
Above-average temperatures were widespread across the globe in February, making it another record-breaking month — with the highest departure from average on record. Combining land and ocean surface temperatures from thousands of measuring stations, NOAA announced this week that the global average temperature for the month was 2.18 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Read the full report here.
According to the monthly summary from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the December-February temperature was also the highest for the season and highest departure from average for any 3-month period on record.
The globally averaged land-surface temperature for February was 4.16 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, breaking the previous record set in 1998 and 2015 (tied) by 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit. The globally averaged sea-surface temperature was 1.46 degrees Fahrenheit above average, also the highest for any February on record.
Data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab shows that the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during February was 800,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, making it the third-smallest February Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 50-year period of record and smallest since 2002. The North American snow cover extent was the 13th smallest on record while the Eurasian snow cover extent was fourth smallest.
Arctic sea ice extent also set a record low for the month, and Antarctic sea ice extent was the sixth-smallest in the satellite record, dating back 38 years.
For the winter season (December-February), the globally averaged temperature was 2.03 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, also the warmest on record and breaking last year’s record by 0.52 degrees Fahrenheit.
Information compiled from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for February 2016, published online March 2016, retrieved on March 17, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201602.