The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made March 2010 the warmest March on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January - March period on record.
The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is based on records going back to 1880.
The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for March 2010 was the warmest on record at 56.3 °F (13.5 °C), which is 1.39 °F (0.77 °C) above the 20th century average of 54.9 °F (12.7 °C).
The worldwide ocean surface temperature was the highest for any March on record: 1.01 °F (0.56 °C) above the 20th century average of 60.7 °F (15.9 °C).
Separately, the global land surface temperature was 2.45 °F (1.36 °C) above the 20th century average of 40.8 °F (5.0 °C)—the fourth warmest on record. Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, especially in northern Africa, South Asia and Canada. Cooler-than-normal regions included Mongolia and eastern Russia, northern and western Europe, Mexico, northern Australia, western Alaska and the southeastern United States.
El Niño weakened to moderate strength in March, but it contributed significantly to the warmth in the tropical belt and the overall ocean temperature. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, El Niño is expected to continue its influence in the Northern Hemisphere at least through the spring.
For the year-to-date, the combined global land- and ocean-surface temperature of 55.3 °F (13.0 °C) was the fourth warmest for a January-March period. This value is 1.19 °F (0.66 °C) above the 20th century average.
According to the Beijing Climate Center, Tibet experienced its second warmest March since historical records began in 1951. Delhi, India also had its second warmest March since records began in 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department.
NOAA’s State of the Climate report also showed the March 2010 average temperature for the entire contiguous United States was warmer-than-average with several New England states experiencing one of the warmest months of March on record. Average precipitation for the US was below normal, but heavy rainfall set March records in parts of the Northeast. (Earlier post.)