Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v4) anomaly analysis as described in Huang et al. (2016). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. The percentile map on the right provides additional information by placing the temperature anomaly observed for a specific place and time period into historical perspective, showing how the most current month, season or year compares with the past.


In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth's surface. The average position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure—depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the April 2016 height and anomaly mapApril 2016 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.


The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2016 was 1.10°C (1.98°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F)—the highest temperature departure for April since global records began in 1880. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2010 by 0.28°C (0.50°F). This was also the fourth highest monthly temperature departure among all 1,636 months on record, behind March 2016 (1.23°C/2.21°F), February 2016 (1.19°C/2.14°F), and December 2015 (1.12°C/2.02°F). Overall, 13 out of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with February 1998 and January 2007 among the 15 highest monthly temperature departures. April 2016 also marks the fifth consecutive month (since December 2015) that the global monthly temperature departure from average has surpassed 1.0°C (1.8°F) and it is the 12th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in NOAA's 137 years of record keeping.

April 2016 was characterized by warmer to much warmer-than-average conditions across most of Earth's land surfaces, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above. The most notable warm temperature departures were observed across much of Russia and Alaska, where temperatures were 3.0°C (5.4°F) or greater above average. Record warmth was notable across northern and central South America and parts of southern Europe, western and central Africa, southeastern Asia, eastern Australia, southern Alaska, and the Caribbean. Meanwhile, northeastern Canada and southern South America were cooler than average, with the most notable cool temperature departures across northeastern Canada (as low as -5°C / -9°F below average). According to NCEI's Global Regional analysis, all six continents had at least a top nine warm April, with South America, Africa, and Asia observing a record high average temperature for April.

Overall, the average global temperature across land surfaces for April 2016 was 1.93°C (3.47°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5°F), the highest April temperature on record, surpassing the previous April record set in 2007 by 0.42°C (0.77°F) and the third highest monthly temperature departure on record (1880–2016), behind March 2016 (2.38°C/4.28°F) and February 2016 (2.28°C/4.11°F).

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

  • According to El Centro Internacional para la Investigación del Fenómeno del Niño (CIIFEN), the average temperature across South America during April 2016 was above average, with temperature departures from average as high as +2.0°C (+3.6°F) in Venezuela, northern Colombia, and eastern Paraguay, and cooler-than-average conditions (-1.0°C/-1.8°F) across southern Argentina.
  • The average temperatures across Ireland in April 2016 were cooler than average, ranging between 0.8°C to 2.0°C (1.4°F to 3.6°F) below the 1981–2010 average. Several stations had their coldest April in at least 16 years, with the station at Dublin Airport recording its coldest April since 1986.
  • Above-average conditions engulfed much of Australia during April 2016, resulting in the second highest average temperature for April at 2.0°C (3.6°F) above average, behind 2005 (+2.66°C/4.79°F). Regionally, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, and Northern Territory had a top five warm April. The nation also had its second highest maximum temperature and third highest minimum temperature since national temperature records began in 1910.
  • As shown in the percentiles map above, much of the Indochina peninsula experienced record high April temperatures. The extreme temperatures were caused by an exceptional heat wave that affected the region for much of the month, with several countries (Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, and Thailand) setting new national maximum temperature records. According to Meteo France, Thailand set a new national maximum temperature of 44.6°C (112.3°F) on April 28, besting the previous record set in April 1960 by 0.1°C (0.2°F). Cambodia set a new national temperature record of 42.6°C (108.7°F) on April 15, surpassing the previous record set in April 1960 by 1.2°C (2.2°F). Laos new national temperature record of 42.3°C (108.1°F) set on 12 April 2016 exceeded the previous record set in March 1933 by 0.3°C (0.5°F). Maldives set a new national temperature record of 34.9°C (94.8°F) on April 16, surpassing the previous record of 34.8°C (94.6°F) set in March 1999.

Much of the global oceans experienced warmer to much-warmer-than-average conditions during April 2016, with a large portion of the Indian Ocean experiencing record warmth. Other areas with record high sea surface temperatures include the Southwest Pacific Ocean, parts of the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean, and parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Areas with cooler to much-cooler-than-average conditions include south of Greenland in the North Atlantic, in the Southern Ocean to the southeast of South America near Antarctica, and southeast of New Zealand, as well as parts of northern Pacific Ocean.

The April globally averaged sea surface temperature was 0.80°C (1.44°F) above the 20th century monthly average. This was the highest global ocean temperature for April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.14°C (0.25°F) and besting 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred, by 0.24°C (0.43°F). April 2016 tied with February 2016 as the seventh highest departure from average among all 1,636 months in the record.

Sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to decrease during April 2016, reflecting a weakened El Niño. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with an increasing chance of La Niña during the second half of the year. This forecast focuses on the ocean surface temperatures between 5°N and 5°S latitude and 170°W to 120°W longitude, called the Niño 3.4 region.

April Ranks and Records
(out of 137 years)
Land+1.93 ± 0.11+3.47 ± 0.20Warmest1st2016+1.93+3.47
Ocean+0.80 ± 0.14+1.44 ± 0.25Warmest1st2016+0.80+1.44
Land and Ocean+1.10 ± 0.13+1.98 ± 0.23Warmest1st2016+1.10+1.98
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.08 ± 0.14+3.74 ± 0.25Warmest1st2016+2.08+3.74
Ocean+0.81 ± 0.13+1.46 ± 0.23Warmest1st2016+0.81+1.46
Land and Ocean+1.29 ± 0.13+2.32 ± 0.23Warmest1st2016+1.29+2.32
Southern Hemisphere
Land+1.53 ± 0.13+2.75 ± 0.23Warmest1st2016+1.53+2.75
Coolest137th1891, 1908-0.78-1.40
Ocean+0.80 ± 0.15+1.44 ± 0.27Warmest1st2016+0.80+1.44
Land and Ocean+0.91 ± 0.14+1.64 ± 0.25Warmest1st2016+0.91+1.64
Land and Ocean+2.62 ± 0.15+4.72 ± 0.27Warmest2nd2007+3.22+5.80

The most current data can be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

Year-to-date (January–April)

A record warm January, February, March, and April resulted in the highest global land and ocean average temperature for January–April at 1.14°C (2.05°F) above the 20th century average—besting the previous record set in 2015 by 0.30°C (0.54°F) and surpassing January-April 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred during this period, by 0.45°C (0.81°F).

The average land surface temperature was also record high, at 2.04°C (3.67°F) above average, surpassing the previous record of 2015 by 0.59°C (1.06°F). The average global sea surface temperature for the year-to-date was the highest for January–April in the 137-year period of record, at 0.81°C (1.46°F) above average, surpassing the previous records set in 2010 and 2015 by 0.19°C (0.34°F) and exceeding January–April 1998 by 0.26°C (0.47°F).

Record warmth was observed in various areas around the globe, including Alaska, northern and central South America, central and southern Africa, southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, North Indian Ocean, northern and southern Australia, and parts of north-central Russia, the southwest Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic, and central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to NCEI's Global Regional analysis, all six continents had a top five warm January–April, with North America, South America, and Oceania observing a record high average temperature for the year-to-date, and Africa and Asia having their second highest January–April average temperature, behind 2010 and 2002, respectively.

January–April Ranks and Records
(out of 137 years)
Land+2.04 ± 0.16+3.67 ± 0.29Warmest1st2016+2.04+3.67
Ocean+0.81 ± 0.16+1.46 ± 0.29Warmest1st2016+0.81+1.46
Land and Ocean+1.14 ± 0.16+2.05 ± 0.29Warmest1st2016+1.14+2.05
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.28 ± 0.20+4.10 ± 0.36Warmest1st2016+2.28+4.10
Ocean+0.85 ± 0.15+1.53 ± 0.27Warmest1st2016+0.85+1.53
Coolest137th1909, 1911-0.46-0.83
Land and Ocean+1.39 ± 0.17+2.50 ± 0.31Warmest1st2016+1.39+2.50
Southern Hemisphere
Land+1.41 ± 0.14+2.54 ± 0.25Warmest1st2016+1.41+2.54
Ocean+0.80 ± 0.16+1.44 ± 0.29Warmest1st2016+0.80+1.44
Land and Ocean+0.89 ± 0.16+1.60 ± 0.29Warmest1st2016+0.89+1.60
Land and Ocean+2.99 ± 0.35+5.38 ± 0.63Warmest1st2016+2.99+5.38

The most current data can be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.



The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left, using a base period of 1961–1990) and precipitation percentiles (right, using the period of record) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during April 2016 varied significantly around the world. April precipitation was notably drier than normal across various parts of northeastern South America, Mexico, southeastern Europe, central and southern Asia, and across much of Australia, and notably wetter than normal across various regions of the central United States, southern South America, western and northern Europe, and across parts of northern Asia.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

  • Below-average precipitation was observed across much of Australia during April 2016. The nationally-averaged precipitation total was 67% below normal—the lowest April precipitation total since 1997 and the eighth lowest since national precipitation records began in 1900. All regions also observed below-average conditions during the month.
  • According to Denmark's Meteorological Service (DMI), the nationally-averaged precipitation for April 2016 was 67.5 mm (2.66 inches)—Denmark's wettest April since 1998. National precipitation records began in 1874.
  • Several rainfall events brought abundant rainfall accumulations to northeastern Argentina (Servicio Nacional de Meteorología de Argentina), with several stations setting new monthly precipitation records as they received twice or triple their monthly average precipitation. Of note, the Malargüe station received a total of 145.3 mm (5.7 inches), which is a little over six times its monthly April average of 22.9 mm (0.9 inch). The heavy rains triggered floods, affecting hundreds of people and forcing them to evacute their homes (CIIFEN).
  • Wetter-than-average conditions affected much of Fiji during April 2016. According to Fiji's Meterological Service, 13 out of 24 stations across the country received more than twice their monthly April average, with two stations (at Nadi Airport and Ono-i-lau) receiving more than triple the month's average precipitation total. Much of the precipitation was attributed to several tropical systems that impacted the country during the month.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for April 2016, published online May 2016, retrieved on December 11, 2023 from