Canadian Underwriter

March and year-to-date second warmest on record for the world: NOAA

April 21, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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On the heels of the second warmest winter in its 138-year record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported that March 2017 and the year-to-date were the second warmest on record for the world.

The March 2017 average global temperature was 1.89 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 54.9°F. Credit: NOAA.

The March 2017 average global temperature was 1.89 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 54.9°F, according to the analysis, released earlier this week by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This temperature was the second highest for March in the 1880-2017 record, behind last year by 0.32°F. This also marks the first time the monthly temperature departure from average surpassed 1.8°F in the absence of an El Niño effect in the tropical Pacific Ocean, NOAA reported in a press release.

The year-to-date average, from January through March of this year, was 1.75°F above the 20th-century average of 54.1°F. This was the second-highest first quarter of the year on record, behind 2016 by 0.32°F.

Related: Earth had second warmest February on record this year: NOAA

In Canada specifically, much of the country experienced near- to cooler-than-average conditions, with average temperatures 1 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius below average. In the contiguous United States, warmer- to much-warmer-than-average conditions were present, resulting in the ninth warmest March since national records began in 1895.

Other notable climate events and facts around the world last month included:

  • The average Arctic sea ice extent was 7.5% below the 1981-2010 average for March, and the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 34.2% below the 1981-2010 average. For both regions, this was the smallest March sea ice extent since the satellite record began in 1979;
  • The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the second highest March on record, 1.28°F above average. The globally averaged land-surface temperature for March was the second highest on record for that month, 3.56°F above average;
  • Cyclone Debbie (from March 23 to April 7) had maximum winds of 195 kilometres per hour and brought torrential rains to Australia’s eastern coast and adjacent inland districts. Several locations set new high March rainfall totals;
  • Europe and Oceania had their 2nd warmest March on record; Asia, its 4th; Africa, its 7th; South America, its 12th; and North America, its 30th; and
  • The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was 20,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, the 24th smallest value in the 51-year period of record. North America had its 20th smallest, and Eurasia was near the middle of the record.