Environment
Environment

October 2009 Saw Near Record Heat for Planet

| by NOAA
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the sixth warmest October on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.

NCDC scientists reported that the average land surface temperature for October was also the sixth warmest on record. Additionally, the global ocean surface temperature was the fifth warmest on record for October.

Global Temperature Highlights

* The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for October 2009 was the sixth warmest on record, at 1.03 degrees F above the 20th century average of 57.1 degrees F.

* The global land surface temperature for October 2009 was 1.48 degrees F above the 20th century average of 48.7 degrees F, and ranked as the sixth warmest October on record.

* The worldwide ocean temperature was the fifth warmest October on record, with an anomaly of 0.90 degree F above the 20th century average of 60.6 degrees F. Warmer-than-average temperatures dominated much of the world’s land areas. The greatest warm temperature variances during October 2009 were present across Alaska and northern and eastern Russia.

* Cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across Scandinavia, New Zealand, the contiguous U.S., and parts of northern Australia and southern South America.

Other Highlights

* According to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand experienced uncharacteristically cool conditions, resulting in the coolest October since 1945. The national average was 51.1 degrees F, 2.5 degrees F below the long-term average.

* Average Arctic sea ice coverage was 2.9 million square miles during October. This is 19.2 percent less than the 1979-2000 average and the second smallest October extent, behind 2007, since records began in 1979.

* Antarctic sea ice extent in October was 1.6 percent above the 1979-2000 average, the ninth largest October extent on record.

* Hurricane Rick became the second-most intense Northeast Pacific hurricane on record, behind 1997’s Linda, and the strongest hurricane to form in October since reliable records began. Rick made landfall near Mazatlan, Mexico on October 21st, resulting in two fatalities.

Scientists, researchers, and leaders in government and industry use NOAA’s monthly reports to help track trends and other changes in the world's climate. This climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the oceans to surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.