NOAA: Global temperatures in March make coolest March since 1999 even with US’ record-breaking warmth
The average global temperature for March 2012 made it the coolest March since 1999, and the 16th warmest since record keeping began in 1880, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At the same time, the contiguous US recorded warmest March on record since 1895. (Earlier post.)
Arctic sea ice extent during the month was below average but was the largest extent since 2008 and one of the largest March extents of the past decade, according to NOAA. Additionally, La Niña conditions continued to weaken during March as temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean warmed during the last two months. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, La Niña is expected to dissipate by the end of April 2012.
Highlights of NOAA’s monthly report for March include:
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March 2012 was the 16th warmest March record and the coolest since 1999 at 55.73 °F (13.16 °C), which is 0.83 °F (0.46 °C) above the 20th century average of 54.9 °F (12.7 °C). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.13°F (0.07°C).
The global land-only surface temperature was 1.31 °F (0.73 °C) above the 20th century average of 40.8 °F (5.0 °C), making it the 18th warmest March on record and the coolest global land-only March temperature anomaly since 2003. The margin of error is ±0.23 °F (0.13 °C).
Warmer-than-average conditions occurred across nearly all of Canada, the contiguous United States, Mexico, Europe, Argentina, Peru, and parts of northern and central Russia, India, China, and eastern Brazil. Cooler-than-average regions included Alaska, Australia, eastern and western Russia, and parts of New Zealand.
Norway experienced its warmest March since national records began in 1900, while Australia had its third coolest March maximum temperature since national temperature records began in 1950.
For the ocean, the March global sea surface temperature was 0.63 °F (0.35 °C) above the 20th century average of 60.7 °F (15.9 °C), tying with 1988 and 1990 as the 14th warmest March on record and coolest since 2008. The margin of error is ±0.07 °F (0.04 °C). The warmth was most pronounced across the north central Pacific, the North Atlantic, much of the eastern Indian Ocean, and portions of the mid-latitude Southern oceans.