Record high readings on 3 continents
April’s average global temperature registered at 1.98 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, marking the 12th month in a row with a new record high temperature.
It’s the longest such streak since record-keeping started in 1880, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, which released its monthly State of the Climate report this week. The average global temperature for the year-to-date (January to April) is also the warmest on record, and by such a large margin that most climate experts expect 2016 to end up as the warmest year on record for planet Earth.
April’s reading broke the record for the month set in 2010 by 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also the fourth highest departure from average for any month on record, following March 2016, February 2016 and December 2015.
Both land and sea surface temperatures set records in April, with ocean warmth especially noticeable across most of the North Indian Ocean, along with parts of the central equatorial and southwest Pacific Ocean all reaching record high readings.
Temperature higher in the atmosphere were also record- or near-record warm, according to the NOAA report, which is available online here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201604.
Following a record warm winter and spring, it’s probably not surprising that the Northern Hemisphere’s snow cover extent was also the lowest on record in April, 890,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average and 30,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 1968.
NOAA previously reported that Arctic sea ice extent also set a new record for the lowest winter maximum. According to the most recent reports from ice trackers, Arctic sea ice is on a steep downward spiral this spring as extremely warm temperatures persist across the region.
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Overall, 13 out of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with February 1998 and January 2007 among the 15 highest monthly temperature departures. April 2016 also marks the fifth consecutive month (since December 2015) that the global monthly temperature departure from average has surpassed 1.0°C (1.8°F).
The warmest areas around the globe in April included big parts of Russia and Alaska, with readings more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Record warmth was also reported from northern and central South America and parts of southern Europe, western and central Africa, southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, southern Alaska, and the Caribbean. South America, Africa, and Asia all observed a record high average temperature for April.
Northeastern Canada and southern South America were cooler than average, with the most notable cool temperature departures across northeastern Canada, where average temps ran as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit below average.
Information compiled from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for April 2016.