Global heat wave continues with second-warmest February on record

No post El Niño cool down …

The global average temperature for February 2017 was the second-warmest on record, with record heat across the Arctic and parts of North America. Credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service.

Staff Report

So far, there’s little sign of a post El Niño drop in global temperatures, according to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service, which has new data showing that last month was the second-warmest February on record for Earth. According to the report, February 2017 “extended the spell of exceptional global warmth that has now lasted since mid-2015.”

February had the highest departure from average for any month since April 2016, at 0.69 degrees Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average. That was just 0.18 degrees Celsius cooler than February 2016, which was the warmest February on record.

The warmest area globally was the Arctic, where temperatures were about 10 degrees Celsius above average, as well as a much of North America, where the peak warm anomaly was reported at 6 degrees Celsius in the upper Midwest. In Chicago, weather observers said it was the first time recorded history there was no snow on the ground either in January or February.

Northwestern Africa and a substantial part of Asia were also relatively warm. Summer temperatures were well above average in eastern Australia, southern South America and parts of Antarctica. Antarctic sea-ice extent reached a new low in February.

Below-average temperatures were reported in parts of western Canada and Alaska, north-eastern and southern Africa, southwestern Asia and the western half of Australia.

Across Europe, the average temperature for the month was 1.6 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average, which marks a cool-down from the year before, which brought an anomaly of 4 degrees Celsius.

Sea surface temperatures were generally above average, with cooler areas over the northeastern Pacific Ocean and over quite substantial parts of the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans.




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