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Temperature

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 November 2021 and September-November 2021maps, is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

Monthly Temperature: November 2021

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 version 5) anomaly analysis. Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCEI'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.

The global average temperature over the land and ocean surfaces for November 2021 was 0.91°C (1.64°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F), the fourth highest for November since global temperature records began in 1880. The 10 warmest Novembers have occurred since 2004. November 2021 also marks the 45th consecutive November and the 443rd consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

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During November 2021, temperatures were much above average across much of Africa and across parts of North America, South America, Asia, and across much of the Atlantic, western Pacific, and northeastern and southwestern Indian oceans. Record-high November temperatures were observed across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific oceans, as well as parts of northern Africa and small areas of eastern Canada and eastern Asia. About 10.4% of the world's surface experienced record-warm temperatures in November, which is the highest November percentage on record for November. This surpassed the previous record of 8.7% set in November 2015. Compared to all months, November 2021 was the ninth highest percentage for record-high temperature for any month since 1951. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average November temperatures were present across much of Alaska and Australia and across parts of Greenland, northwestern China, and the north, eastern, and southeastern Pacific Ocean.

The Northern Hemisphere had its second warmest November on record with a temperature departure of +1.24°C (+2.23°F). This was 0.06°C (0.11°F) shy of tying the record set in November of 2020. The Northern Hemisphere land-only temperature was also near-record high at 1.86° (3.35°F) above average. Only November of 2010 had a higher Northern Hemisphere land-only temperature. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere, as a whole, had a November temperature that tied with 2014 as the 10th highest on record.

Africa had its warmest November on record, with a temperature departure of +1.61°C (+2.90°F). This value surpassed the now second warmest November set in 2019 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). The Caribbean region had a near-record warm November (tied with 2016), behind the record set in 2015. South America and Asia had a top-10 warm November, while North America and Europe had a top-15 warm month. Meanwhile, Oceania had its coolest November since 1999.

While much of the contiguous U.S. had above-average November temperatures, Alaska had below-average conditions. Overall, the contiguous U.S. had its seventh warmest November on record, while Alaska had its eighth coldest November on record.

Cooler-than-average conditions were also observed across much of Spain in November. As a whole, Spain had its 10th coldest November since national records began in 1961 with a November temperature that was 1.2°C (2.2°F) below average.

Cooler-than-average temperatures also engulfed much of Australia during November 2021. The national temperature was 0.63°C (1.13°F) below the 1961–1990 average—the coolest November for Australia since 1999 and the 27th coolest November in the nation's 112-year temperature record. The nation had a near-average minimum temperature, while the maximum temperatures were 1.22°C (2.20°F) below average and the 17th coolest November maximum temperature on record. Regionally, South Australia and New South Wales had their coolest November since 1999 and it was a top-10 cool November on record for both regions.

While neighboring Australia had a cooler-than-average November, New Zealand had its warmest November on record. The national temperature for November 2021 was 1.7°C (3.1°F) above the 1981–2010 average.

November Ranks and Records
November Anomaly Rank
(out of 142 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.50 ± 0.23 +2.70 ± 0.41 Warmest 3rd 2020 +1.74 +3.13
Coolest 140th 1892 -1.10 -1.98
Ocean +0.69 ± 0.15 +1.24 ± 0.27 Warmest 4th 2015 +0.86 +1.55
Coolest 139th 1909 -0.48 -0.86
Land and Ocean +0.91 ± 0.17 +1.64 ± 0.31 Warmest 4th 2015 +1.01 +1.82
Coolest 139th 1908 -0.50 -0.90
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.86 ± 0.22 +3.35 ± 0.40 Warmest 2nd 2010 +2.03 +3.65
Coolest 141st 1892 -1.37 -2.47
Ocean +0.87 ± 0.16 +1.57 ± 0.29 Warmest 6th 2015 +1.10 +1.98
Coolest 137th 1912 -0.54 -0.97
Land and Ocean +1.24 ± 0.19 +2.23 ± 0.34 Warmest 2nd 2020 +1.30 +2.34
Coolest 141st 1892 -0.86 -1.55
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.58 ± 0.11 +1.04 ± 0.20 Warmest 23rd 2019 +1.46 +2.63
Coolest 120th 1917 -0.80 -1.44
Ocean +0.56 ± 0.15 +1.01 ± 0.27 Warmest 7th 2015 +0.69 +1.24
Coolest 136th 1924 -0.48 -0.86
Land and Ocean +0.56 ± 0.15 +1.01 ± 0.27 Warmest 10th 2015 +0.78 +1.40
Coolest 133rd 1924 -0.50 -0.90
Ties: 2014

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

Seasonal Temperature: September–November 2021

The September–November period is defined as the Northern Hemisphere's meteorological autumn and the Southern Hemisphere's meteorological spring. The September–November global surface temperature departure of +0.89°C (+1.60°F) was the fourth warmest such period on record. The 10 warmest September–November periods have all occurred since 2012.

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The three-month period was characterized by much-above-average temperatures across much of North America, South America, Africa, and across parts of southern and eastern Asia as well as parts of the western Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Record-warm September–November 2021 temperatures were observed across parts of North America, Africa, the Middle East, eastern Asia, as well as parts of the Atlantic, western and southern Pacific, and southwestern Indian oceans. Cooler-than-average conditions were limited to parts of Alaska, Greenland, and central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

The Northern Hemisphere land-only surface autumn temperature was 1.56°C (2.81°F) above average and the highest for autumn in the 142-year record. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2020 by 0.07°C (0.13°F). Overall, the Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surfaces also had the fourth warmest autumn on record, while the Southern Hemisphere spring temperature tied with 2014 and 2017 as the sixth warmest spring on record.

Autumn 2021 was the second warmest autumn on record for North America at 1.79°C (3.22°F) above average. This was only 0.29°C (0.52°F) shy of tying the record warm autumn set in 2016. Africa's three-month temperature departure of 1.39°C (2.50°F) was the fourth warmest September–November period. South America had its third warmest September–November period. Eight of South America's 10 warmest Novembers have occurred since 2012. Asia had its sixth warmest such period on record. Although Europe and Oceania had an above-average September–November temperature, it was their coolest such period since 2016. With a national spring temperature that was 1.0°C (1.8°F) above average, New Zealand had its second warmest spring on record. Only spring of 1988 was warmer.

September–November Ranks and Records
September–November Anomaly Rank
(out of 142 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.40 ± 0.22 +2.52 ± 0.40 Warmest 2nd 2020 +1.47 +2.65
Coolest 141st 1881, 1884 -0.78 -1.40
Ocean +0.70 ± 0.15 +1.26 ± 0.27 Warmest 5th 2015 +0.86 +1.55
Coolest 138th 1908 -0.47 -0.85
Ties: 2020
Land and Ocean +0.89 ± 0.16 +1.60 ± 0.29 Warmest 4th 2015 +0.99 +1.78
Coolest 139th 1912 -0.50 -0.90
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.56 ± 0.21 +2.81 ± 0.38 Warmest 1st 2021 +1.56 +2.81
Coolest 142nd 1912 -0.97 -1.75
Ocean +0.90 ± 0.16 +1.62 ± 0.29 Warmest 7th 2015 +1.10 +1.98
Coolest 136th 1912 -0.54 -0.97
Land and Ocean +1.15 ± 0.19 +2.07 ± 0.34 Warmest 4th 2015 +1.21 +2.18
Coolest 139th 1912 -0.71 -1.28
Southern Hemisphere
Land +1.01 ± 0.13 +1.82 ± 0.23 Warmest 8th 2020 +1.43 +2.57
Coolest 135th 1880 -0.67 -1.21
Ties: 2009
Ocean +0.55 ± 0.15 +0.99 ± 0.27 Warmest 6th 2015 +0.67 +1.21
Coolest 137th 1903, 1908 -0.44 -0.79
Land and Ocean +0.63 ± 0.15 +1.13 ± 0.27 Warmest 6th 2015 +0.77 +1.39
Coolest 137th 1903 -0.44 -0.79
Ties: 2014, 2017

Year-to-date Temperature: January–November 2021

The January–November 2021 global surface temperature was the 0.84°C (1.51°F) above average and the sixth highest such period on record. According to NCEI's Annual Ranking Outlook, it is virtually certain that the year 2021 will end among the 10 warmest years on record. It is very likely the year will rank as the sixth warmest year on record.

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The first 11 months of the year were characterized by much-warmer-than-average temperatures across much of South America and Africa and across parts of North America, northern and southern Europe, the southern half of Asia as well as parts of eastern Asia. Across the oceans, much of the Atlantic, western and southern Pacific oceans, and parts of the Indian ocean had much-warmer-than-average conditions for the year-to-date period. Record-warm January–November temperatures were observed across parts of Africa, the Middle East, southeastern Asia, eastern North America, southern South America, and the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Cooler-than-average temperatures were observed across the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. However, no land or ocean areas had a record cold January–November temperature.

Regionally, Africa had its third warmest January–November period on record. Only January–November of 2010 and 2016 were warmer. North America and South America each had their sixth warmest year-to-date period on record, while Asia had its seventh warmest and Europe had its 11th warmest such period on record. Oceania had an above-average temperature, but it was the coolest January–November period since 2012.

January–November Ranks and Records
January–November Anomaly Rank
(out of 142 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.35 ± 0.16 +2.43 ± 0.29 Warmest 6th 2020 +1.61 +2.90
Coolest 137th 1884 -0.73 -1.31
Ocean +0.65 ± 0.17 +1.17 ± 0.31 Warmest 7th 2016 +0.81 +1.46
Coolest 136th 1904 -0.47 -0.85
Land and Ocean +0.84 ± 0.16 +1.51 ± 0.29 Warmest 6th 2016 +1.01 +1.82
Coolest 137th 1904, 1911 -0.47 -0.85
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.55 ± 0.17 +2.79 ± 0.31 Warmest 3rd 2020 +1.78 +3.20
Coolest 140th 1884 -0.84 -1.51
Ocean +0.81 ± 0.17 +1.46 ± 0.31 Warmest 6th 2020 +1.00 +1.80
Coolest 137th 1904 -0.52 -0.94
Ties: 2018
Land and Ocean +1.09 ± 0.17 +1.96 ± 0.31 Warmest 6th 2020 +1.29 +2.32
Coolest 137th 1904 -0.50 -0.90
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.85 ± 0.12 +1.53 ± 0.22 Warmest 12th 2019 +1.26 +2.27
Coolest 131st 1917 -0.76 -1.37
Ties: 2010
Ocean +0.54 ± 0.17 +0.97 ± 0.31 Warmest 8th 2016 +0.71 +1.28
Coolest 135th 1911 -0.45 -0.81
Land and Ocean +0.59 ± 0.16 +1.06 ± 0.29 Warmest 9th 2016 +0.78 +1.40
Coolest 134th 1911 -0.47 -0.85

Precipitation

November Precipitation

The maps shown below represent anomalies (left, using a base period of 1961–1990) and percent of normal (right, using the same base period) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during November 2021 varied significantly around the world.

Significantly below-average precipitation occurred across much of the contiguous U.S. as well as parts of Alaska, Hawaii, northern Europe and parts of Spain, and across Asia. Significantly above-normal precipitation occurred in much of Australia, southeastern Russia, and northeastern China and across parts of the northwestern contiguous U.S., southern Europe, and southern India, where November precipitation totals were at least twice their monthly precipitation normal.

In British Columbia, Canada, record rainfall amounts fell in mid-November, causing dangerous floods and landslides. According to Environment Canada, a total of 100.4 mm (3.9 inches) fell on November 14 in Abbotsford, exceeding the previous record of 48.9 mm (1.9 inches) that was set in 1998. forced people to evacuate their homes and blocked roads. The copious rain also prompted rivers to overflow.

Dry conditions affected much of the contiguous U.S. during the month, resulting in the eighth driest November in the nation's 127-year record.

Several episodes of heavy rainfall affected Colombia during November 2021. Early in the month, torrential rain triggered a deadly landslide in southern Colombia, killing at least 11 people and destroying two buildings. Heavy rain fell also fell across parts of northwestern Colombia in mid-November, prompting several rivers to overflow their banks and flood neighboring communities. Over 3,000 houses were either damaged or destroyed by the floods and crops and livestock were also affected.

According to media reports, the Mediterranean island of Malta had over November's average monthly rainfall total in just a 24-hour period. The heavy rain flooded roads and damaged homes and buildings.

Southern Egypt was impacted by severe storms in mid-November, affecting the region with heavy rain, floods, and hail. The torrential rains forced scorpions to seek dry land and into residential areas in the city of Aswan. The stings from scorpions killed at least 3 people and left over 500 others seeking treatments in hospitals. The severe weather conditions also caused damages to homes and roads.

Australia had its wettest November in the nation's 122-year precipitation record, with a national average of 72.6 mm (2.9 inches). This surpassed the previous record of 70.1 mm (2.8 inches) set on November 1973. Above-average rainfall was observed across much of the continent, with the region of New South Wales and South Australia having their wettest November on record with rainfall close to or at twice the monthly rainfall total for the region. In addition, Queensland and Western Australia had a top-nine wet November on record. Tasmania was the only region to have below-average November rainfall.

September–November Precipitation

Significantly below-average September–November precipitation occurred across parts of the southwestern and south-central contiguous U.S., southern South America, central Europe, northern Africa, and across the Hawaiian Island. Significantly above-normal precipitation occurred across parts of the northwestern contiguous U.S., northeastern Brazil, southern and eastern Asia, and Australia.

Australia had its wettest spring since 2010 and the tenth wettest in the nation's 122-year precipitation records. Regionally, New South Wales had its fourth wettest spring on record. According to the World Meteorological Organization, La Niña and the warm sea surface temperature in the Western Pacific Ocean contributed to the very wet conditions in the region during Southern Hemisphere spring 2021.

Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)

The following analysis is based upon the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Interim Climate Data Record. It is provided courtesy of the GPCP Principal Investigator team at the University of Maryland.

The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly data set is a long-term (1979-present) analysis (Adler et al., 2018) using a combination of satellite and gauge information. An interim GPCP analysis completed within ~10 days of the end of the month allows its use in climate monitoring.

November is the end of the Fall/Spring (depending on hemisphere) seasonal transition as the global precipitation patterns move generally south toward their Winter/Summer positions. On top of these seasonal changes, there are inter-annual climate shifts, and, of course, smaller, synoptic-scale variations related to storm tracks, etc. The mean map for November 2021 and the associated anomaly maps in Fig. 1 show the main climatological precipitation features in the tropics (e.g. the ITCZ) and mid-latitudes (e.g., storm tracks) and how they relate in position and intensity to the climatology for the month.

Although the seasonal changes dominate the shifts in the monsoons and other rainy/dry season changes, the monthly anomaly pattern (middle panel) shows significant variations from the November climatology. Positive anomalies dominate the eastern Indian Ocean, Maritime Continent and Australia region. The Pacific ITCZ is shifted northward from its typical position, hence the east-west positive anomaly just north of the Equator and a parallel negative anomaly to the south. A striking narrow, positive anomaly crosses the Pacific from south of Japan to the coast of western Canada. This feature is the result of an intense cyclone track across the mid-latitude Pacific with sub-tropical moisture sources resulting associated with multiple Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) hitting the northwest U.S. and Canada's British Columbia during the month producing flooding and landslides there. The northern part of South America had above average rainfall this month.

The continuing La Niña feature evident in the negative SST anomaly pattern in the central Pacific along the Equator is a key player again this month to the precipitation anomaly pattern in the tropics and beyond. Figure 2 shows the La Niña composite anomaly pattern for previous Novembers based on the Nino 3.4 SST Index alongside this November's anomalies. The patterns across the tropics, from East Africa, through the Indian Ocean, across the Maritime Continent and Australia, eastward through the tropical Pacific and into South America are quite similar, indicating again the effect of the Pacific Ocean temperatures associate with the ENSO atmospheric-oceanic phenomenon. Impacts from this La Niña rainfall distribution during November include floods in southern India and Sri Lanka, Indochina, Indonesia, eastern Australia and northern South America. The patterns are even correlated outside the tropics, for example the dry pattern across the southern U.S., and even the positive precipitation anomaly in the northwest U.S. and southwest Canada, also related to very serious flood and landslides in the region. Elsewhere the La Niña doesn't dominate, for example, in the North Atlantic.

The dry tropical north Atlantic seen in the anomaly map (Fig. 1, middle panel) is not associated with the La Niña and reflects the almost total lack of tropical cyclones there during November as the that storm season ended. On a smaller scale over Europe the Mediterranean continued to be active, as in last month, most easily seen in the bottom panel of Fig. 1 with a swath of positive anomaly across the western part of the sea associated with floods Malta. Even further to the east floods were noted in Egypt and the coast of Israel.

The mean precipitation for September–November is shown in Fig. 3 along with the anomaly field and a La Niña climatological composite for this season. The anomaly pattern for this particular Fall/Spring season reflects closely the La Niña composite for the season over much of the tropics and into some of the mid-latitudes. Over Africa surplus rain in central Africa and dry conditions in eastern Africa are similar to the La Niña pattern. In South Sudan over the past few months back into the rainy season significant rain and persistent flooding produced difficult conditions for the people. Again, the heightened rainfall over the Maritime Continent and dry conditions to the east are La Niña features, as are the east-west features north and south of the Equator across the Pacific.

At sub-tropical latitudes, across the Pacific, the dry zone is even drier than normal, and extends into and across the southern U.S., continuing the drought there, especially in the southwest U.S. North of this along the west coast of North America the three-month positive anomaly reflects the large amount of precipitation in this region which led to floods. This positive feature clearly shows in the La Niña composite. The latter part of the Atlantic tropical cyclone season (Sep–Nov) this year was very weak and this shows up with negative rain anomalies across the Caribbean and Atlantic cyclone track region, a characteristic opposite of the pattern in the La Niña composite. Usually, La Niña is a positive effect on Atlantic tropical cyclones (more storms). Further north a drier than normal zone for this season extends from the eastern Atlantic into western Europe, extending the ongoing drought across this area. This feature is also evident in the La Niña composite.

Not every precipitation anomaly feature is related to ENSO, but the comparisons shown, especially at the seasonal level, indicate that when ENSO is in a non-neutral state, a large part of the globe can be affected. The current La Niña is forecast to continue for another few months, so these large-scale precipitation patterns may also persist.

Background discussion of long-term means, variations and trends of global precipitation can be found in Adler et al. (2017).

References

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  • Huang, B., Peter W. Thorne, et. al, 2017: Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 5 (ERSSTv5), Upgrades, validations, and intercomparisons. J. Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0836.1
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  • Adler, R., G. Gu, M. Sapiano, J. Wang, G. Huffman 2017. Global Precipitation: Means, Variations and Trends During the Satellite Era (1979-2014). Surveys in Geophysics 38: 679-699, doi:10.1007/s10712-017-9416-4
  • Adler, R., M. Sapiano, G. Huffman, J. Wang, G. Gu, D. Bolvin, L. Chiu, U. Schneider, A. Becker, E. Nelkin, P. Xie, R. Ferraro, D. Shin, 2018. The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Monthly Analysis (New Version 2.3) and a Review of 2017 Global Precipitation. Atmosphere. 9(4), 138; doi:10.3390/atmos9040138

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Monthly Global Climate Report for November 2021, published online December 2021, retrieved on September 30, 2022 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202111.

Metadata

https://data.nodc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/iso?id=gov.noaa.ncdc:C00672