March 2015: Another Warmest Month on Record for the Planet
- Category: Climate Change
- Published: Saturday, 18 April 2015 10:30
- Written by Bernd Riebe (NOAA)
- Hits: 3545
18 April, 2015 - The average temperature across global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for March 2015 was 0.85°C (1.53°F) higher than the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This marks the highest March temperature in the 136-year period of record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). The Northern Hemisphere had its second highest March temperature on record, behind only 2008, while the Southern hemisphere tied with 2002 for third highest.
The March 2015 global temperature was the third highest monthly departure from average on record for any month, just 0.01°C (0.02°F) lower than the monthly anomalies for February 1998 and January 2007. This also replaces February 2015 (+0.84°C / +1.51°F) as the third highest departure from average among all months, moving that month to fourth highest. Seven of the past eleven months (May, June, August, September, October, and December 2014, along with March 2015) have tied or set new record high monthly temperatures.
The average March temperature over land surfaces across the globe tied with 1990 as the second highest for March on record, at 1.59°C (2.86°F) above the 20th century average. The warmth was spread fairly evenly across the hemispheres, as the Northern and Southern Hemisphere each observed their third highest March land surface temperatures on record. Most land areas were warmer to much warmer than average, as shown by the Temperature Percentiles map above, with record warmth in parts of the western United States and Canada, various regions in eastern Africa, parts of Scandinavia and northwestern Russia, part of south central China, and an area of northeastern Australia. Central India, southeastern Mauritania, central Mexico, and eastern Canada were cooler than average. Part of northeastern Canada was much cooler than average, with the region observing temperatures at least 3°C (5°F) below average. On the other side of the continent, most of central to western North America had temperatures at least 3°C higher than the 20th century average. Temperatures were also at least 3°C above average across most of Eurasia, with the exception of Far East Russia south of the East Siberian Sea, which was cooler than average.
· Australia observed its eighth warmest March since national records began in 1910, due mainly to heat in the north and east of the country. Queensland was the hotspot, with its warmest maximum (anomalies of +2.88°C / +5.18°F), minimum (+1.62°C / +2.91°F), and mean (+1.89°C / +3.40°F) temperatures compared to the 1961–90 average in the 106-year period of record. Victoria and Tasmania were cooler than average for the month, while South Australia and Western Australia were close to average.
· It was also a warm March in New Zealand thanks to frequent tropical airflow over the country, according to NIWA, with the national temperature for the month 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Many sites observed temperatures well above average (at least +1.2°C / +2.2°F).
For the oceans, the March global sea surface temperature was 0.55°C (0.99°F) higher than the 20th century average for the month. This marks the third highest globally-averaged March temperature in the 136-year period of record. Only March 1998 and 2010 ocean surface temperatures were warmer, with both months 0.56°C (1.01°F) higher than the 20th century average. Record warm temperatures continued to dominate in the northeast Pacific Ocean and were also notable in the southwest Pacific and parts of the Arctic Seas to the north and northwest of Scandinavia. Overall, every major ocean basin had at least some areas with record warmth and large areas with much warmer-than-average temperatures. Also, continuing a pattern seen since fall 2014, much of the North Atlantic Ocean between Canada and the United Kingdom had much cooler-than-average temperatures during March, with an area of record cold observed within that that region.
El Niño conditions were present during March. Ocean temperatures in the Niño 3.4 region—the area between 5°N and 5°S latitude and 170°W to 120°W longitude where ENSO conditions are monitored—was +0.7°C (+0.11°F) during the last week of March, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC), indicating that a weak-phase El Niño is continuing. According to the CPC, there is about a 70 percent chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere summer 2015, and more than 60 percent chance it will last through fall. El Niño conditions tend to enhance global temperatures, with stronger events having generally larger impacts.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2015