The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880.
NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was second warmest on record, behind 1998. For the June-August 2009 season, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was third warmest on record.
Global Highlights – Summer
• The June-August worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record at 62.5 degrees F, 1.04 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F.
• The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the June-August season was 61.2 degrees F, which is the third warmest on record and 1.06 degrees F above the 20th century average of 60.1 degrees F.
Global Highlights – August
• The worldwide ocean surface temperature of 62.4 degrees F was the warmest on record for any August, and 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 61.4 degrees F.
• Separately, the global land surface temperature of 58.2 degrees F was 1.33 degrees F above the 20th century average of 56.9 degrees F, and ranked as the fourth warmest August on record.
• Large portions of the world’s land mass observed warmer-than-average temperatures in August. The warmest departures occurred across Australia, Europe, parts of the Middle East, northwestern Africa, and southern South America. Both Australia and New Zealand had their warmest August since their records began.
• The Southern Hemisphere average temperatures for land and ocean surface combined were the warmest on record for August.
Other Notable Developments
• For the year to date, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature of 58.3 degrees F tied with 2003 for the fifth-warmest January-August period on record. This value is 0.99 degree F above the 20th century average.
• According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Arctic sea ice covered an average of 2.42 million square miles during August. This is 18.4 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent, and is generally consistent with a decline of August sea ice extent since 1979.
• NSIDC data indicated Antarctic sea ice extent in August was 2.7 percent above the 1979-2000 average. This is consistent with the trend during recent decades of modest increases in August Antarctic sea ice extent.
Watch NOAA's visualization of the world’s land and ocean surface temperature.
Watch NOAA's visualization of the Arctic sea ice extent.
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