During 2018, 11 of 12 monthly global land and ocean temperature departures from average ranked among the five warmest for their respective months, giving way to the fourth warmest year in NOAA's 139-year record. The years 2015–2017 each had a global temperature departure from average that was more than 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the 1880–1900 average, which is a period that is commonly used to represent the pre-industrial conditions. However, 2018 was just shy of reaching the 1.0°C (1.8°F) mark at 0.97°C (1.75°F). The year began with a La Niña episode present across the tropical Pacific Ocean, transitioning to ENSO-neutral by April 2018.
2018 also marks the 42nd consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average. During the 21st century, the global land and ocean temperature departure from average has reached new record highs five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016), with three of those being set back-to-back. From 1880 to 1980, a new temperature record was set on average every 13 years; however, for the period 1981–2018, the frequency of a new record has increased on average to once every three years.
Nine of the 10 warmest years (listed below) have occurred since 2005, with the last five years (2014–2018) ranking as the five warmest years on record. The year 1998 is the only year from the 20th century among the ten warmest years on record, currently tying with 2009 as the ninth warmest year on record.
The yearly global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase since 1981 (0.17°C / 0.31°F) is more than twice as great.
Ten Warmest Years (1880–2018)
The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually-averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record.
1 = Warmest
Period of Record: 1880–2018
|Year||Anomaly °C||Anomaly °F|
(out of 139 years)
|Land||+1.12 ± 0.14||+2.02 ± 0.25||Warmest||4th||2016||+1.45||+2.61|
|Ocean||+0.66 ± 0.16||+1.19 ± 0.29||Warmest||4th||2016||+0.76||+1.37|
|Land and Ocean||+0.79 ± 0.15||+1.42 ± 0.27||Warmest||4th||2016||+0.95||+1.71|
|Land||+1.18 ± 0.16||+2.12 ± 0.29||Warmest||5th||2016||+1.59||+2.86|
|Ocean||+0.75 ± 0.16||+1.35 ± 0.29||Warmest||5th||2015||+0.89||+1.60|
|Land and Ocean||+0.92 ± 0.15||+1.66 ± 0.27||Warmest||4th||2016||+1.14||+2.05|
|Land||+0.97 ± 0.11||+1.75 ± 0.20||Warmest||4th||2015||+1.10||+1.98|
|Ocean||+0.58 ± 0.16||+1.04 ± 0.29||Warmest||3rd||2016||+0.69||+1.24|
|Land and Ocean||+0.65 ± 0.15||+1.17 ± 0.27||Warmest||4th||2016||+0.75||+1.35|
The 1901–2000 average combined land and ocean annual temperature is 13.9°C (57.0°F), the annually averaged land temperature for the same period is 8.5°C (47.3°F), and the long-term annually averaged sea surface temperature is 16.1°C (60.9°F).
The following information was compiled from previous NCEI monitoring reports and public reports by National Hydrometeorological Services (NHMSs; peers of the U.S. National Weather Service).
Temperatures across much of the world were warmer- to much-warmer-than-average during 2018. Record warm temperatures were measured across much of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East, New Zealand and surrounding ocean, and across parts of Asia, the Atlantic Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. Averaged separately, the global land-only surface temperature for 2018 was 1.12°C (2.02°F) above the 20th century average—the fourth highest annual temperature since global records began in 1880. The global ocean-only surface temperature was also the fourth highest on record at +0.66°C (+1.19°F).
North America's 2018 continental temperature was the 18th highest since continental records began in 1910 at 0.73°C (1.31°F). The yearly temperature for North America has increased at an average rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is more than twice (0.29°C / 0.52°F) as great since 1981.
- The contiguous U.S. had a yearly temperature that was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average—the 14th warmest year in the nation's 124-year record. Meanwhile, Alaska had its second warmest year on record with an annual temperature departure from average at +2.4°C (+4.4°F). Alaska's record warm year was set in 2016 (+3.3°C / +5.9°F).
- According to Mexico's National Weather Service, the January–November 2018 national temperature of 22.7°C (40.9°F) was 1.5°C (2.7°F) above average and the third warmest such period on record. The warmest January–November periods took place in 2016 and 2017.
- The Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaiian region's 2018 temperature were both the third highest on record.
- The Caribbean region had its coolest year since 2012, while the Atlantic Main Development Region had its coolest year since 2001.
The 2018 temperature across South America was the eighth highest on record. South America's trend during the 1910–2018 period was 0.15°C (0.27°F) per decade and 0.19°C (0.34°F) per decade since 1981. The years 2014–2017 comprise South America's four warmest years on record, with 2015 the record warm year.
- Argentina's 2018 temperature was 0.34°C (0.61°F) above average, resulting in the ninth warmest year since national records began in 1961.
Much-warmer-than-average conditions were present across Europe for most of 2018, with eight of 10 months ranking among the three warmest respective months on record. The months of February and March 2018 were cooler than normal, resulting in the coolest such months since 2012 and 2013, respectively. Overall, the 2018 European average temperature departure from average was the highest on record at 1.78°C (3.20°F) since continental records began in 1910. This value exceeds the previous record set in 2014 by 0.07°C (0.13°F). Overall, Europe's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has almost quadrupled to 0.43°C (0.77°F) since 1981.
- A heat wave, characterized by its unprecedented intensity and duration, affected Europe from April 18–22. France's national mean temperature on April 21 was 19.2°C (66.6°F)—the hottest day on record for the month of April, surpassing the previous record of 18.9°C (66.0°F) set on 30 April 2005. The average maximum temperature for the nation during the five-day period was 26.2°C (79.2°F), which is 9.7°C (17.5°F) above average. This was the highest temperature over a five-day period for April since 1960. Many locations set new high maximum (daytime) and minimum (nighttime) temperatures for the month.
- Temperatures were much warmer than average during mid-July across Scandinavia, with several locations in the Arctic Circle recording maximum temperatures 30.0°C (86.0°F) or higher. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Norway set a new national maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 33.5°C (92.3°F) on 17 July in Badufoss. Similarly, Kevo, Finland had a maximum temperature of 33.4°C (92.1°F) on the same day. Minimum temperatures were also exceptionally warm, with Norway, setting a new warm national minimum temperature when temperatures dropped only to 25.2°C (77.4°F) on 18 July.
- The United Kingdom national temperature for 2018 was 9.5°C (49.1°F), which is 0.6°C (1.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average and the seventh highest since national records began in 1910. According the UK's Met Office, all of the nation's top ten years have occurred since 2001.
- France had its warmest year since national records began in 1900, with a national temperature of 13.9°C (57.0°F) or 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2014 by +0.2°C (+0.4°F).
- Germany's 2018 mean temperature was also the highest since records began in 1881 at 10.4°C (50.6°F), which is 2.2°C (4.0°F) above the 1961–1990. This value surpasses the previous record set in 2014 by 0.1°C (0.2°F). According to Germany's Deutscher Wetterdienst, eight of the nine warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century.
- Switzerland had its warmest year since national records began in 1864. The 2018 national temperature of 6.9°C (44.4°F) was 1.5°C (2.7°F) above the 1981–2010 average and surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.1°C (0.2°F).
- The year 2018 tied with 2007 as Denmark's second warmest year on record with a temperature of 9.5°C (49.1°F), which is 1.8°C (3.2°F) above the 1961–1990 average. The record warm year was set in 2014 with a yearly average temperature of 10.0°C (50.0°F) or 2.3°C (4.1°F) above average.
- The Netherlands also had its second warmest year on record, with a nationally-average temperature of 11.3°C (52.3°F). This value falls behind the record year set in 2014.
Africa had its fifth warmest year on record at 1.01°C (1.82°F). The five warmest years for Africa have occurred since 2010. Africa's annual temperature has increased at average rate of 0.10°C (0.18°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has almost tripled to 0.28°C (0.50°F) since 1981.
- On July 5, the city of Ouargla in Algeria recorded a maximum temperature of 51.3°C (124.3°F)—possibly the highest temperature ever on record in Algeria. According to the World Meteorological Organization's Weather and Climate Extremes Archive, Africa's highest maximum temperature of 55.0°C (131.0°F) was set in Kebili, Tunisia in July 1931.
The 2018 temperature for Asia as 1.26°C (2.27°F) above average and the seventh highest in the 109-year record. Asia's trend during the 1910–2018 period was +0.14°C (+0.25°F) per decade; however, the trend is a little over double during the 1981–2018 period (+0.33°C / +0.59°F) per decade.
- April 2018 was also exceptionally warm across eastern and central Pakistan. A heat wave affected eastern and central Pakistan from mid- to late-April. On 30 April, temperatures at Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah) soared to 50.2°C (122.4°F), marking Pakistan's warmest April maximum temperature on record. This value is 10.0°C (18.0°F) above the April average value of 40.2°C (104.4°F). The previous record of 49.2°C (120.6°F) was set on 22 April 2017. Several locations set new April maximum temperature records as temperatures exceeded more than 40.0°C (104.0°F).
- Much of central and southern Asia experienced much-above-average conditions during March 2018. According to Meteo France, at least seven countries (Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) set new national March temperature records. Temperatures during March 2018 were 9.0°–12.0°C (16.2°–21.6°F) above average and were similar to temperatures observed typically at the end of May or early June. Asia set a new continental maximum temperature record when temperatures across Pakistan soared to 45.5°C (113.9°F), surpassing the previous continental record set in India by 0.1°C (0.2°F). Hong Kong, China also had warmer-than-average conditions during the month, with a temperature departure from average of 1.7°C (3.1°F) above average and ranked among the four highest March temperatures on record.
- Bahrain's March 2018 mean temperature was 24.6°C (76.3°F), which is 3.6°C (6.5°F) above average and resulting in the highest mean temperature for March since national records began in 1902. The previous record of 24.2°C (75.6°F) was set in 1969. The nation's mean maximum temperature was 4.9°C (8.8°F) above average and the highest for March since 1946, surpassing the previous record set in 1969 and again in 2008 by +0.8°C (+1.4°F). On March 30th, Bahrain International Airport recorded a maximum temperature of 37.6°C (99.7°F)—the third highest daily maximum temperature for March since 1946, behind 29 March 1998 (38.1°C / 100.6°F) and 19 March 1966 (38.0°C / 100.4°F). As for minimum temperatures, the national minimum temperature for March was 2.9°C (5.2°F) above average, tying with 1969 as the highest on record.
- Oman observed its highest minimum (nighttime) temperature on record when temperatures dropped to only 42.6°C (108.7°F) in Quriyat on June 26. This appears to be a new Asian record and, according to some media sources, a world record warm minimum temperature. However, according to NCEI's Global Historical Climatology Network - Daily, a higher minimum temperature of 43.3°C (110°F) occurred in Furnace Creek (formerly known as Greenland Ranch) located in California's (United States) Death Valley National Park on 5 July 1918. Potential world and continental-scale temperature and other climate records are evaluated by the World Meteorological Organization.
- August 2018 was South Korea's warmest August on record with a national mean temperature of 27.3°C (81.1°F), which is 2.2°C (4.0°F) above average. The nation's maximum (daytime) temperature ranked as the second highest at 32.2°C (90.0°F). National records began in 1973. According to KMA, many locations across South Korea set new maximum August temperature records. Of note, Seoul broke a 111-year record with a monthly maximum temperature of 39.6°C (103.3°F).
- Hong Kong's 2018 annual temperature of 23.9°C (75.0°F) was 0.6°C (1.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average, ranking the third highest yearly temperatures since records began in 1884.
Oceania, as a whole, had its third warmest year on record at 1.15°C (2.07°F) above average. The record year was set in 2013 at +1.25°C (+2.25°F). The 1910–2018 trend for Oceania was +0.11°C (+0.20°F) per decade; however, the trend is twice that during the 1981–2018 period (+0.21°C / +0.38°F) per decade.
- According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). Australia had its third warmest year since national records began in 1910 at 1.14°C (2.05°F) above the 1961–1990 average. This value falls behind 2013 (record warmest at +1.33°C / +2.38°F) and 2005 (second warmest at +1.15°C / +2.07°F). The national maximum temperature was 1.55°C (2.79°F) above average and ranked as the second highest in the 109-year record, trailing behind 2013 by +0.04 (+0.07°F). Regionally, New South Wales had its highest mean and maximum temperature departures from average on record at +1.68°C (+3.02°F) and +2.13°C (+3.83°F), respectively. Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, and Northern Territory had a yearly average temperature that ranked among the six highest on record.
- New Zealand's national temperature for 2018 was 13.41°C (56.14°F) or 0.80°C (1.44°F) above the 1981–2010 average. The year 2018 tied with 1998 as New Zealand's second warmest year on record, behind the record year set in 2016 (+0.84°C / +1.51°F). The nation's averaged minimum temperature was also record warm at 0.94°C (1.69°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This value surpasses the previous record set in 2016 by +0.14°C (+0.25°F).
- The national mean January 2018 temperature for New Zealand was 20.3°C (68.5°F), which is 3.1°C (5.6°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the warmest January since national records began in 1909, exceeding the previous record set in 1956 by +1.2°C (+2.2°F). Only four months have had a nationwide temperature exceeding 2.0°C (3.6°F), including February 2016, May 2016, and December 2017. January 2018 was also the warmest month for any month on record, surpassing February 1998 which had a national temperature of 19.6°C (67.3°F). Regionally, several locations set record to near-record January temperatures. Of note, Christchurch and Hokitika had their warmest January since records began in 1863 and 1866, respectively.
As indicated by the Global Percent of Normal Precipitation and Precipitation Percentiles maps below and as is typical, many stations were wet for the year, while many stations were dry. Also, as discussed below, extreme precipitation and drought events occurred across the world.
January 2018 was Austria's wettest January since 1982 at 170% of normal January precipitation. However, several locations across the nation set new precipitation records. Of interest, Nauders in Tyrol (western Austria) had a monthly total of 163.0 mm (6.4 inches) for January 2018, resulting in the highest precipitation total since records began in 1896.
Several storms impacted France during January 2018. Several locations had two to three times the monthly normal precipitation for the month. The national precipitation total was 80% above average and the wettest January since 1959.
Precipitation varied greatly across Australia during February 2018, with much of the area experiencing below-average conditions. Tasmania and the Western Australia were the only regions with above-average precipitation at +12% and +43%, respectively. Much of Western Australia's precipitation was associated to tropical cyclone Kelvin, which brought moderate to heavy rain. Some locations in Queensland set new February rainfall records. Broome Airport set a new daily February rainfall record when a total of 376.8 mm (14.8 inches) of rain fell on 17 February, shattering the previous record of 181.6 mm (7.1 inches) set on 22 February 1991. Broome Airport also set a new February total rainfall record (614.0 mm / 24.2 inches), surpassing the previous record of 495.6 mm (19.5 inches) set in 1999.
Two extra-tropical cyclones impacted New Zealand during February 2018, resulting in significant precipitation totals. Some locations received more than triple their February normal precipitation total. Of note, the Akaroa station had a total of 240 mm (9.4 inches) of precipitation for the month, which is 455% of normal and the wettest February on record.
Precipitation totals across the Island of Fiji were average to well above average in February, with only 3 of 24 stations experiencing drier-than-average conditions. Ono-I-Lau set a new record for maximum daily total precipitation, recording a total of 270.7 mm (10.7 inches) on February 13, surpassing the previous record of 198.4 mm (7.8 inches) set in 2017. Meanwhile, Nacocolevu set a new February precipitation record of 727.4 mm (28.6 inches), exceeding the previous record of 576.6 mm (22.7 inches) set in 2017.
France had above-average precipitation during March 2018 at 160% of normal precipitation, with its Mediterranean region receiving 2–4 times March's normal precipitation, and in some locations over 5 times the month's normal precipitation totals. Some locations had near-record precipitation totals, such as Provence - Alpes - Cote d'Azur and Corsica, which had their second wettest March on record, behind 2013.
Drier-than-average conditions plagued much of Argentina during March 2018, resulting in the ninth driest March since national records began in 1961. The national March 2018 precipitation total was 26.7% below the 1961–90 average. In the last fifteen years, only three years (2007, 2014, and 2017 [wettest year on record]) had above average conditions.
Cyclone Mekunu, the tenth tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea in the last 11 years, ranked as the fourth strongest cyclone over the Arabian Sea. It was reported that Salalah, Oman, had a total of 328 mm (12.9 inches) in a 36-hour period from May 24–25, 2018—this is over twice the annual average precipitation of 130 mm (5.1 inches) for the city.
Portugal had wetter-than-average conditions during June 2018. The national average precipitation total was 48.5 mm (1.9 inches), which is 150% of June's normal. This was the second wettest June since 2000, behind 2007 (56.8 mm / 2.2 inches). Much of the United Kingdom had drier-than-average conditions during June 2018.
According to the United Kingdom's Met Office, the national precipitation total for the month was 48% of June's normal value, with the most notable precipitation deficits across England and Wales. England had its third driest June on record, with several locations across southern England experiencing their driest June in over 100 years. Wales had its fourth driest June on record.
Mexico had its driest July on record, receiving only 83.8 mm (3.3 inches), which is 60% of July's long-term average (1941—2018). The previous records was set in 2000 (99.1 mm / 3.9 inches). Regionally, Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala had their driest July on record.
Above-average precipitation was observed across the Kingdom of Bahrain in October 2018. Bahrain's International Airport had a monthly precipitation 19.9 mm (0.8 inch), which is 40 times more than the monthly average of 0.5 mm (0.02 inch) and the highest October precipitation total at this location since 1902. Only three days of rain were observed in Bahrain's International Airport, with Oct 22 having the highest daily precipitation of 11.6 mm (0.5 inch) and resulted in October's wettest day since 1948. The previous daily record for October was set on October 31, 1969 when 8.9 mm (0.3 inch) of rain fell.
Precipitation totals across the Island of Fiji were above average to well above average, with the exception of Rotuma which was the only station that had below-average precipitation during October 2018. Although it was very wet across Fiji, several stations (Monasavu, Udu Point, Nabouwalu, Matei Airfield, and Vanubalavu) had more than three times their monthly normal rainfall totals. The stations Nabouwalu (632.4 mm), Udu Point (546.1 mm), Matei Airfield (717.2 mm), and Monasavu (1200.5 mm) set new record high precipitation totals for the month of October since records began in 1918, 1946, 1956, and 1980, respectively.
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