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Introduction

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information calculates the global temperature anomaly every month based on preliminary data generated from authoritative datasets of temperature observations from around the globe. The major dataset, NOAAGlobalTemp version 5, updated in mid-2019, uses comprehensive data collections of increased global area coverage over both land and ocean surfaces. NOAAGlobalTempv5 is a reconstructed dataset, meaning that the entire period of record is recalculated each month with new data. Based on those new calculations, the new historical data can bring about updates to previously reported values. These factors, together, mean that calculations from the past may be superseded by the most recent data and can affect the numbers reported in the monthly climate reports. The most current reconstruction analysis is always considered the most representative and precise of the climate system, and it is publicly available through Climate at a Glance.


Temperature

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 and sea surface temperature anomaly analysis. Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. 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.

March 2022

The March 2022 global surface temperature departure was the fifth highest for March in the 143-year record at 0.95°C (1.71°F) above the 20th century average. This was also the highest monthly temperature departure since November 2020. The seven warmest Marches have occurred since 2015, while the 10 warmest Marches have occurred since 2002. March 2022 also marked the 46th consecutive March and the 447th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

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The month of March was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across much of Australia, southern and eastern Asia, and parts of Central America and northern South America, central Africa, as well as parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and northern and western Pacific oceans. Record-warm March temperatures were observed in southern Asia, and parts of north and western Pacific Ocean, as well as parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Overall, the record-warm March temperatures encompassed above 5.5% of the world's surface — the sixth-highest percentage for record-high March temperatures. Meanwhile, near- to cooler-than-average March temperatures were present across parts of central North America, southern South America, southeastern Europe, the northern Middle East, western and central Russia, as well as parts of northern Atlantic, and the central and eastern tropical and southeastern Pacific oceans. However, no land or ocean areas had record-cold March temperatures.

Regionally, South America and Africa had an above-average March temperature; however, it was their smallest March temperature departure since March of 2014 and 2015, respectively. North America and Europe also had an above-average March temperature; however, their temperature anomalies didn't rank among the top-20 warm Marches.

Asia as a whole had a March temperature that was 2.62°C (4.72°F) above average and the ninth-highest on record.

  • The Kingdom of Bahrain had a mean March temperature that was 1.0°C (1.8°F) above average, with a maximum temperature that was 1.4°C (2.5°F) above average and the seventh highest for March since 1946. During the month, a maximum temperature of 39.3°C (102.7°F) was observed on March 11 at the Bahrain International Airport — the second highest maximum temperature on record for the month of March, behind March 18, 2021 (40.0°C / 104.0°F).
  • Hong Kong had a March mean temperature of 21.5°C (70.7°F), which is the second highest for March on record. The near-record high mean temperature was mainly driven by the record-high maximum (daytime) temperatures that were 3.1°C (5.6°F) above average. The minimum (nighttime) temperature was the sixth-highest on record.

The region of Oceania had its fourth-warmest March on record. Only Marches of 2016, 2017, and 2019 were warmer.

  • Australia had its fifth-warmest March mean temperature on record at 1.68°C (3.02°F) above the 1961–1990 average. Regionally, the Northern Territory had its second warmest March on record, behind the record-warm March set in 2019. Meanwhile, Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia had a top seven warm March on record. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, unusually warm temperatures affected a large area of northern Australia in early March, with several locations in the region setting new March temperatures. Of note, the Darwin Airport (located in the Northern Territory) had a maximum temperature of 36.0°C (96.8°F) on March 9 — tying with March 13, 1942 as the warmest March day on record.
  • New Zealand's March 2022 temperature of 16.9°C (62.4°F) was 1.3°C (2.3°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This value tied as the eighth-highest for March since national records began in 1909.

Unusually warm temperatures affected parts of Antarctica during mid-March, with temperatures at least 22.2°C (40.0°F) warmer than average. According to media reports, several locations set new March temperature records on March 18, 2022. Of note, the Concordia station had a temperature of -12.2°C (10.0°F), which is 38.8°C (70.0°F) above average. Also, according to Severe Weather Europe, Australia's Casey Research Station in Antarctica reported a maximum temperature of 5.6°C (42.1°F) on March 16—the highest March temperature since records began for this station in 1989.

March Ranks and Records
March Anomaly Rank
(out of 143 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.66 ± 0.11 +2.99 ± 0.20 Warmest 8th 2016 +2.50 +4.50
Coolest 136th 1898 -1.71 -3.08
Ocean +0.68 ± 0.14 +1.22 ± 0.25 Warmest 5th 2016 +0.86 +1.55
Coolest 139th 1904, 1911 -0.50 -0.90
Land and Ocean +0.95 ± 0.15 +1.71 ± 0.27 Warmest 5th 2016 +1.31 +2.36
Coolest 139th 1898 -0.68 -1.22
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.90 ± 0.15 +3.42 ± 0.27 Warmest 9th 2016 +2.95 +5.31
Coolest 135th 1898 -2.17 -3.91
Ocean +0.83 ± 0.13 +1.49 ± 0.23 Warmest 4th 2020 +0.94 +1.69
Coolest 140th 1904 -0.54 -0.97
Land and Ocean +1.24 ± 0.13 +2.23 ± 0.23 Warmest 5th 2016 +1.69 +3.04
Coolest 139th 1898 -0.98 -1.76
Southern Hemisphere
Land +1.04 ± 0.12 +1.87 ± 0.22 Warmest 8th 2016 +1.39 +2.50
Coolest 136th 1885 -0.93 -1.67
Ocean +0.58 ± 0.15 +1.04 ± 0.27 Warmest 8th 2016 +0.83 +1.49
Coolest 136th 1911 -0.53 -0.95
Land and Ocean +0.65 ± 0.14 +1.17 ± 0.25 Warmest 8th 2016 +0.92 +1.66
Coolest 136th 1911 -0.57 -1.03

500 mb maps

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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 March 2022 map—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.


January–March 2022

During the first three months of the year, much-warmer-than-average conditions were observed across Central America, South America, Europe, Asia and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and northern and western Pacific oceans. Meanwhile, near- to cooler-than-average conditions were present across parts of North America, the northern Atlantic Ocean, northern Africa, central and eastern tropical Pacific and the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

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The January–March global surface temperature was 0.88°C (1.58°F) above average — the fifth-highest January–March temperature in the 143-year record. The five warmest January–March periods have occurred since 2016. According to NCEI's statistical analysis, the year 2022 is very likely to rank among the ten warmest years on record and has a 39.9% chance to rank among the five warmest years on record.

Regionally, Asia had its fifth-warmest January–March period on record, while South America, Europe, the Caribbean region, and Oceania had a January–March temperature that ranked among the nine warmest such periods on record. Africa and North America had an above-average January–March; however, it was their smallest temperature departure since 2012 and 2014, respectively. The Caribbean region had its fourth-warmest January–March period on record.

January–March Ranks and Records
January–March Anomaly Rank
(out of 143 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.46 ± 0.13 +2.63 ± 0.23 Warmest 7th 2016 +2.19 +3.94
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.29 -2.32
Ocean +0.66 ± 0.16 +1.19 ± 0.29 Warmest 5th 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 139th 1904 -0.51 -0.92
Land and Ocean +0.88 ± 0.16 +1.58 ± 0.29 Warmest 5th 2016 +1.23 +2.21
Coolest 139th 1904 -0.59 -1.06
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.67 ± 0.16 +3.01 ± 0.29 Warmest 7th 2020 +2.53 +4.55
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.58 -2.84
Ocean +0.80 ± 0.15 +1.44 ± 0.27 Warmest 5th 2016 +0.99 +1.78
Coolest 139th 1904 -0.56 -1.01
Land and Ocean +1.13 ± 0.14 +2.03 ± 0.25 Warmest 5th 2016 +1.57 +2.83
Coolest 139th 1893 -0.90 -1.62
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.94 ± 0.13 +1.69 ± 0.23 Warmest 8th 2016 +1.37 +2.47
Coolest 136th 1918 -0.86 -1.55
Ocean +0.57 ± 0.16 +1.03 ± 0.29 Warmest 7th 2016 +0.79 +1.42
Coolest 137th 1917 -0.52 -0.94
Land and Ocean +0.63 ± 0.15 +1.13 ± 0.27 Warmest 7th 2016 +0.88 +1.58
Coolest 137th 1917 -0.58 -1.04
Ties: 2015

Precipitation

The maps shown 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.

March 2022

As is typical, precipitation anomalies during March 2022 varied significantly around the world. March precipitation was generally drier than normal across the western contiguous U.S., Mexico, central and northern Europe, south-central Asia, central Australia as well as parts of southeastern Brazil, southern South America, and across parts of central and eastern Pacific Islands. Wetter-than-normal conditions were notable across parts of the eastern contiguous U.S., northern South America, the Iberian Peninsula, central and eastern Asia and the western and eastern coasts of Australia.

Wetter-than-average conditions engulfed much of Spain during March, resulting in over twice (223% of normal) its March normal. This was also the sixth-wettest March since national records began in 1961.

Brazil's city of Petropolis was once again affected by heavy rain on March 20, following a similar weather event that had occurred in mid-February that claimed the lives of over 200 people. According to the Petropolis Civil Defense, 415 mm (16.3 inches) of rain fell in just 10 hours on March 20. The torrential rain caused devastating floods and landslides. Roads were either inundated or blocked and buildings were damaged.

Tropical Cyclone Gombe was an equivalent Category 3 hurricane in the Saffir-Simpson scale when it made landfall in northern Mozambique on March 11, 2022. This was only several weeks after Tropical Storm Ana made landfall in the same region. Gombe brought devastating winds and heavy rain and affected over 100,000 people in the affected regions. It was also reported that over 11,000 homes were either destroyed or severely damaged. Southern Malawi was also affected by the storm, displacing over 100,000 residents in the affected regions.

Drought

Drought Information based on global drought indicators is available at the Global Drought Information System.

March 2022 was drier than normal across much of Europe with some areas warmer than normal. This month's precipitation deficits added to dryness that is evident in 3- to 12-month indices, which show dry conditions especially along southern parts of Europe where the European Combined Drought Indicator identifies drought conditions. Satellite-based indicators reflect widespread low groundwater and dry soil moisture conditions across much of Europe.

Above-normal March temperatures have contributed to dry conditions in northern and eastern parts of Siberia. Drought is especially evident at the 1- to 3-month time scales according the GPCC Global Drought Index and evaporation-based indicators such as the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI).

Unusually warm March temperatures prompted the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) to show dry conditions across India. The SPEI shows dryness extending from India to the Arabian Peninsula at longer time scales, with the GPCC Global Drought Index indicating drought from western India to Arabia at the 1- to 3-month time scales and satellite-based indicators showing dry soils and low groundwater. It should be noted that March is in the dry season for India when precipitation is normally low.

The 1- to 3-month SPEI and GPCC Global Drought Indicator maps show dry conditions along the Sahel region in Africa, while dryness is indicated in the equatorial tropical region of Africa on the 1- to 3-month SPEI, Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), and Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) maps, as well as in satellite-based indicators for groundwater and soil moisture. The SPEI shows dryness across much of Africa at the 12-month time scale, although dryness based on the 12-month EDDI and SPI is not as widespread.

Northern portions of Australia have dryness indicated at the 1- to 12-month time scales on the SPEI and SPI maps. Dry conditions are evident in western Australia on the 2- to 3-month evaporation-based EDDI and ESI maps. Satellite-based indicators show low groundwater in western Australia and dry soils in northern Australia. These observations are confirmed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's soil moisture and 4-month precipitation decile drought analyses.

In South America, dry conditions are evident at the 1- to 3-month time scales from southeast Brazil to Bolivia on the SPEI, ESI, and EDDI maps. The dry conditions are more widespread and intense, including across Chile and southern Argentina, on the 12-month SPEI, SPI, and EDDI maps. The satellite-based indicators show low groundwater and dry soils in these areas.

Satellite-based indicators show low groundwater, dry soils, and unhealthy vegetation in northern Mexico, the western United States, and across the U.S. Great Plains into the Canadian Prairies. Dry conditions are indicated in these areas on the 1- to 3-month SPI, 1- to 6-month EDDI, and 1- to 12-month SPEI maps. The North American Drought Monitor product confirms drought in these areas.

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 seasonal transition of precipitation patterns is underway with climatological mean features moving northward in March, especially noticeable in the tropics. The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), that narrow band of rain across the Pacific just above the Equator, has shifted northward just a little as expected (Fig. 1, top panel). It extends eastward across South America and into the Atlantic, still fairly narrow. In the westward direction from the Pacific, across the Maritime continent, Indian Ocean and Africa the ITCZ is much broader, but still distinctive as a climate feature.

In addition to the seasonal changes, other forces, acting on inter-annual and smaller scales produce the anomaly maps for this March (Fig. 1, middle and bottom panels). These patterns of lesser or more precipitation than occur in an average March, reveal distinct features, some at a large scale stretching across a large part of the Pacific, and others much smaller, but with significant excesses or deficits of precipitation. As has been the case for much of the last year and more, the lower-than-normal SSTs of the central Pacific associated with the la Niña phase of the ENSO phenomenon dominate the Pacific Ocean anomaly pattern, but with some subtle shifts this month. Figure 2 shows the la Niña composite pattern for March and repeats the anomaly pattern for this particular March. Across the tropical Pacific the negative anomalies for this March are very strong and expansive and roughly in the same place as in the composite (the mean pattern of a number of la Niñas in March). But, distinct in this year's March a narrow positive anomaly just north of the Equator sweeps across the ocean into South America. This feature is not in the composite, is a change from last month (February), and may indicate some coming change in the ENSO system.

Over the Maritime Continent positive rain anomalies dominate this March, but with a much more variable pattern than the composite. Australia is dominated by a positive anomaly in the composite (typical of la Niña), but has a variable pattern this last month with distinct dryness along its north coast. But, in the southeast, especially right along the coast a relatively small, but intense positive feature is very evident. This feature is associated with heavy rains in that area at multiple times of the month and serious flooding there, including in Sydney. In south Asia positive anomalies dominate much of China, Indochina and the Bay of Bengal, with drier than normal conditions across India and the Arabian peninsula, prolonging a drought over most of this area. This dry feature does compare with the la Niña composite. Over Africa a variable pattern is evident, with a positive feature across northern Madagascar into Mozambique on the coast related to tropical cyclone activity.

Over South America the La Niña composite shows generally positive anomalies over its northern half, while the pattern for this month shows an intense ITCZ with heavy rain dominating its east-west domain. Landslides due to heavy rain were noted in Peru and Ecuador during this month. In addition, floods in southeast Brazil have their own positive anomaly feature, opposite of what shows in the la Niña composite.

The western U.S. and Mexico remain in a strong drought and the general precipitation deficits across the region for March did not help alleviate the condition. The area of recent dryness extends eastward through the Gulf of Mexico. This general pattern matches roughly that in the La Niña composite, including offshore west of California and Mexico. La Niña is well known for being related to dryness over the southwest U.S. Wildfires in Texas were related to the dry conditions.

A swath of deficit precipitation is also evident across central Europe from France into Russia, helping to continue drought conditions in that region.


Ocean Heat Content

Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is essential for understanding and modeling global climate since > 90% of excess heat in the Earth's system is absorbed by the ocean. Further, expansion due to increased ocean heat contributes to sea level rise. Change in OHC is calculated from the difference of observed temperature profiles from the long-term mean.

January–March 2022 Ocean Heat Content (1022 joules)
Basin 0-700 meters | Rank (1955-2022)
Entire Basin Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere
Atlantic8.4381st4.8661st3.5723rd
Indian3.6306th0.6666th2.9647th
Pacific8.2851st4.0221st4.2641st
World20.3531st9.5531st10.8001st
Source: Basin time series of heat content
January–March 2022 Heat Content 0-700 m

Global OHC for January–March 2022 is the highest January–March OHC, as well as the highest quarterly OHC, in our records, which extend back to 1955. Overall, the latest quarterly OHC reveals widespread warmer than normal conditions relative to the 1955–2006 mean, a situation observed since the end of 2016. After the relative lows observed around mid-2020, global OHC remains at record high levels, which coincides with the weakening since late 2020 of the 2020– 2021 La Niña event. In general, OHC features observed in January–March 2022 are very similar to those observed during October–December 2021. Although weaker, cool conditions, about -10x105 J/m3, are still observed extending westward from South America to about 165°W in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Cooler than normal conditions also exist across the Subtropical North Pacific Ocean. Much higher, > 30x105 J/m3, than normal OHC conditions continue to exist in the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Current, the South Atlantic Ocean, the North Pacific Current, and the western tropical South Pacific Ocean. Higher, > 10x105 J/m3, than normal OHC conditions dominate the Indonesian Throughflow, the South China Sea, the North Indian Ocean, along the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the Indian Ocean and Southwestern Pacific Ocean sectors, and the Tasman Sea. Cool conditions, < -10x105 J/m3, persist in the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean south of Greenland and Iceland and in the southern Norwegian Sea.


References

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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
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Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Monthly Global Climate Report for March 2022, published online April 2022, retrieved on July 2, 2022 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202203.

Metadata

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