Hot on the heels of the second warmest winter in the 138-year record, March continued the global warm trend that could last well into this year — especially with increasing chances for the arrival of El Nino by late summer or fall.
Climate by the numbers
The March 2017 average global temperature was 1.89 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 54.9 degrees, according to the analysis by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This was the second highest for March in the 1880-2017 record, behind last year by 0.32 degrees. This also marks the first time the monthly temperature departure from average surpassed 1.8 degrees F in the absence of an El Nino effect in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Year to date | January through March 2017
The year-to-date average temperature was 1.75 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 54.1 degrees. This was the second-highest first quarter of the year on record, behind 2016 by 0.32 degrees F.
Other notable climate events and facts around the world last month included:
More record-low sea ice extent at the poles
- The average Arctic sea ice extent was 7.5 percent below the 1981-2010 average for March, and the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 34.2 percent below the 1981-2010 average. For both regions, this was the smallest March sea ice extent since the satellite record began in 1979.
Near-average snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere
- 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.
Warmer-than-average lands and oceans
- The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the second highest March on record, 1.28 degree F above average.
The globally averaged land-surface temperature for March was the second highest on record for that month, 3.56 degrees F above average.
Global warmth varied by continent
- 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.
Happy Sunday! A look at today's high temperatures: https://t.co/xN0B1Wihg82 hours ago by WeatherNation
Say it ain't snow! It ain't snow! It's cotton of all things! Strong winds made cotton float through the air over… https://t.co/aGHxHWk7ga4 hours ago by WeatherNation
The storms that moved through the central U.S. SAT evening might have been severe, but the cloud formations are tru… https://t.co/vqaNApxPfB10 hours ago by WeatherNation
Severe storms make their way through the Music City Saturday evening. Active weather will continue through the nig… https://t.co/vhTp25GlhO13 hours ago by WeatherNation
A severe thunderstorm and tornado watch stretch about 1,500 miles from Colorado to the Atlantic this evening. Stay… https://t.co/bGf1RZmrob14 hours ago by WeatherNation
Severe storms continue to make their way through the central U.S. Be sure to stay weather aware throughout this ho… https://t.co/7tf1MLBOtm16 hours ago by WeatherNation
Hail this afternoon has been as large as 4.25" thick (grapefruit size) in Missouri! This video shows pea size hail… https://t.co/9Tn7T9Lwl818 hours ago by WeatherNation
Severe storms are moving through Missouri now. Hope all the boaters are safe after this storm blew over Lake of the… https://t.co/Vp5o6a1kvv18 hours ago by WeatherNation
What's your favorite kind of weather for a long holiday weekend? #ItsWhatWeDo23 hours ago by WeatherNation