February 2023 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map

Temperature

Coinciding with the release of the January 2023 Global Climate Report, the NOAA Global Surface Temperature (NOAAGlobalTemp) dataset version 5.1.0 replaced version 5.0.0. This new version includes complete global coverage and an extension of the data record back in time an additional 30 years to January 1850. While anomalies and ranks might differ slightly from what was reported previously, the main conclusions regarding global climate change are very similar to the previous version. Please see our Commonly Asked Questions Document and web story for additional information.

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 5.1.0, updated in 2023, uses comprehensive data collections of increased global area coverage over both land and ocean surfaces. NOAAGlobalTempv5.1.0 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 These factors, together, mean that calculations from the past may be superseded by the most recent data and can affect the numbers reported in the monthly climate reports.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.


February 2023

February 2023 was the fourth-warmest February for the globe in NOAA's 174-year record. The February global surface temperature was 1.75°F (0.97°C) above the 20th-century average of 53.9°F (12.1°C). February 2023 marked the 44th consecutive February and the 528th consecutive month with global temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.

global-land-ocean-anomalies-202302.png

Temperatures were above average throughout most of Europe, South America, central and southern Africa, the Arctic, and western, central, and southern Asia. Parts of southeastern and central-eastern North America, and northeastern and southern Oceania also experienced warmer-than-average temperatures this month. Sea surface temperatures were above average across much of the northern, western and southwestern Pacific and the Atlantic. Record warm temperatures covered 4.21% of the world's surface this month.

Temperatures were near to cooler than average across parts of western and northern North America, northeastern Asia, northern Australia, and Antarctica. Sea surface temperatures were near to below average over parts of the central Indian Ocean and the south-central, central, and eastern tropical Pacific. None of the world's surface had a record-cold February.

In the Northern Hemisphere, February 2023 ranked fourth warmest on record at 1.30°C (2.34°F) above average. Land-only temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere ranked fifth warmest on record, while ocean temperatures tied 2010 to rank eighth warmest for February. Ocean temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere ranked fifth warmest on record, while land-only temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere ranked 20th warmest (tied with 1973, 2004, and 2013) for the month. Overall surface temperature in the Southern Hemisphere this month ranked eighth warmest on record.

A smoothed map of blended land and sea surface temperature anomalies is also available.

Asia had its seventh-warmest February on record at 3.05°C (5.49°F) above average.

  • According to the Hong Kong Observatory, February 2023 in Hong Kong ranked 7th warmest on record at 1.8°C above the 1991–2020 average.
  • In Japan, this February was 0.59°C above average.
  • The February 2023 national mean monthly temperature for Pakistan was 3.55°C warmer than average. This ranked as the second warmest February on record (since 1961).

Europe, South America, and Africa each had a top 20 warmest February on record, ranking 11th (tied), 13th, and 17th (tied) warmest respectively.

  • February in France was 0.8°C above the 1991–2020 normal.
  • The United Kingdom had its fifth-warmest February on record at 1.7°C above the 1991–2020 average.
  • Spain recorded an average February temperature that was 0.4°C below the 1991–2020 average.
  • The Netherlands had a February temperature that was 1.8°C above average.
  • In Ireland this month, all stations recorded mean air temperatures that were above their long term averages for the month.
  • Norway recorded its eighth-warmest February on record.
  • February 2023 in Denmark ended with a national average temperature that was 2.2°C above the climate normal for the period 1991-2020.
  • The average air temperature in Latvia this February was 2.3°C above the monthly norm. A maximum air temperature of +8.3°C was observed on February 14 in Rucava, which set a new record for maximum air temperature on February 14 in Latvia.
  • In Estonia, the average air temperature in February was 2.5°C above the norm.

Oceania and North America each had a warmer-than-average February, but it did not rank among the 30 warmest on record.

  • Australia recorded a national area-average mean temperature that was 0.41°C above the 1961–1990 average for February.
  • February in New Zealand was 1.1°C warmer than the 1991–2020 average.
  • The average temperature of the contiguous U.S. in February 2023 was 36.5°F, which is 2.7°F above average, ranking in the warmest third of the record.
February Ranks and Records
FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 174 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+1.65+2.97Warmest4th2016+2.50+4.50
Coolest171st1893-1.44-2.59
Ocean+0.66+1.19Warmest5th2016+0.81+1.46
Coolest170th1911, 1917-0.49-0.88
Land and Ocean+0.97+1.75Warmest4th2016+1.33+2.39
Coolest171st1917-0.64-1.15
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.15+3.87Warmest5th2016+3.19+5.74
Coolest170th1893-1.84-3.31
Ocean+0.66+1.19Warmest8th2020+0.87+1.57
Coolest167th1917-0.51-0.92
Ties: 2010
Land and Ocean+1.30+2.34Warmest4th2016+1.86+3.35
Coolest171st1893-0.97-1.75
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.53+0.95Warmest20th1998+1.35+2.43
Coolest155th1917-0.95-1.71
Ties: 1973, 2004, 2013
Ocean+0.66+1.19Warmest5th2016+0.77+1.39
Coolest170th1911-0.50-0.90
Land and Ocean+0.63+1.13Warmest8th2016+0.81+1.46
Coolest167th1917-0.57-1.03

500 mb maps

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

hgtanomaly-global-202302.png

Seasonal Temperature: December 2022–February 2023

The December 2022–February 2023 global surface temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F). This ranks as the fifth-warmest December–February period (tied with 2018 and 2022) in the 174-year record. The past nine December–February periods have ranked among the ten warmest such periods on record.

global-land-ocean-anomalies-202212-202302.png

The December–February period is defined as the Northern Hemisphere's meteorological winter and the Southern Hemisphere's meteorological summer. The Northern Hemisphere winter 2023 temperature was the fifth warmest on record, and marks the 38th consecutive winter with global temperatures nominally above the 20th-century average in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere summer temperature ranked 10th warmest on record (tied with 2003 and 2006), and marks the 47th consecutive warmer-than-average summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

December–February Ranks and Records
December–FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 174 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+1.41+2.54Warmest7th2016+2.10+3.78
Coolest168th1893-1.43-2.57
Ties: 2019
Ocean+0.66+1.19Warmest5th2016+0.84+1.51
Coolest170th1917-0.50-0.90
Land and Ocean+0.90+1.62Warmest5th2016+1.23+2.21
Coolest170th1917-0.65-1.17
Ties: 2018, 2022
Northern Hemisphere
Land+1.91+3.44Warmest5th2016+2.66+4.79
Coolest170th1893-1.85-3.33
Ocean+0.75+1.35Warmest5th2016+0.96+1.73
Coolest170th1917-0.51-0.92
Land and Ocean+1.25+2.25Warmest5th2016+1.69+3.04
Coolest170th1893-1.00-1.80
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.28+0.50Warmest39th2019+1.11+2.00
Coolest136th1917-0.75-1.35
Ocean+0.60+1.08Warmest7th2016+0.76+1.37
Coolest168th1917-0.48-0.86
Land and Ocean+0.54+0.97Warmest10th2016+0.77+1.39
Coolest165th1917-0.53-0.95
Ties: 2003, 2006

Over the land surface, air temperatures for the season were above average across much of Europe, Africa, South America, eastern North America, Asia (except a pocket of cooler-than-average conditions in the northeast), northern Oceania, and the Arctic. The Arctic recorded its sixth-warmest winter, while summer in Antarctica ranked 10th coldest on record. Temperatures were near to cooler than average across parts of central-western North America, southeastern Greenland, Australia, Antarctica, and central and northeastern Asia.

Sea surface temperatures for the season were above average across much of the northern and western Pacific, parts of the southeastern Pacific, and most of the central and southern Atlantic. Sea surface temperatures were near to below average over much of the eastern tropical and southeastern Pacific, as well as the central Indian Ocean.

A smoothed map of blended land and sea surface temperature anomalies is also available.

Europe recorded its second-warmest winter on record at 2.50°C (4.50°F) above the 20th century average. Meanwhile, Africa's December to February period ranked fourth warmest on record.

  • Winter in Italy ranked fifth warmest on record.
  • The United Kingdom experienced a winter with temperatures 0.2°C above average.
  • Germany experienced a winter that was 1.5°C warmer than the 1991–2020 average. It was the 12th consecutive warmer-than-average winter for the country.

South America and Asia each recorded a December to February period that ranked 15th warmest on record. Winter in North America ranked 20th warmest on record.

  • Argentina had its warmest summer on record.
  • The contiguous U.S. had its 17th-warmest winter on record.
  • The Hawaiian region recorded its seventh-warmest winter on record.
  • The Caribbean Islands had their 15th-warmest winter on record.
  • In Japan, winter was 0.04°C above average.

Oceania had a warmer-than-average summer, but it was the region's coolest such period since 2012.

  • In Australia, the national mean temperature for summer was 0.07°C above the 1961–1990 average.
  • Summer in New Zealand ranked third warmest on record at 1.1°C above average.


Year-to-date Temperature: January–February 2023

The January–February global surface temperature ranked fourth warmest (tied with 2022) in the 174-year record at 0.92°C (1.66°F) above the 1901-2000 average of 12.1°C (53.8°F). According to NCEI's statistical analysis, the year 2023 is very likely to rank among the 10 warmest years on record.

global-land-ocean-anomalies-202301-202302.png

January to February was characterized by much-warmer-than-average conditions across much of South America, Europe, Africa, and the Arctic, as well as across parts of southern, eastern, and northwestern North America, northern, western, southern, and southeastern Asia, and northern and southwestern Oceania. Sea surface temperatures were warmer-than-average across much of the northern and western Pacific and the Atlantic. Meanwhile, near- to cooler-than-average conditions were present across parts of central-western and far northeastern North America, southern Greenland, central Australia, and northeastern Asia. The central and eastern tropical and southeast Pacific and parts of the central Indian Ocean experienced near- to cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures.

A smoothed map of blended land and sea surface temperature anomalies is also available.

Europe had its second-warmest January–February period on record after 2020. Africa had its 11th-warmest year-to-date, North America had its 12th, Asia had its 13th, and South America had its 14th. Oceania had a warmer-than-average year-to-date, but it did not rank among its 20 warmest such periods on record.

January–February Ranks and Records
January–FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 174 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+1.50+2.70Warmest6th2016+2.25+4.05
Coolest169th1893-1.58-2.84
Ties: 2018
Ocean+0.66+1.19Warmest5th2016+0.84+1.51
Coolest170th1917-0.52-0.94
Land and Ocean+0.92+1.66Warmest4th2016+1.28+2.30
Coolest171st1893, 1917-0.62-1.12
Ties: 2022
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.04+3.67Warmest4th2016+2.86+5.15
Coolest171st1893-2.08-3.74
Ocean+0.72+1.30Warmest6th2016+0.92+1.66
Coolest169th1917-0.53-0.95
Land and Ocean+1.29+2.32Warmest4th2016+1.76+3.17
Coolest171st1893-1.09-1.96
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.27+0.49Warmest36th2019+1.11+2.00
Coolest139th1917-0.79-1.42
Ties: 1979
Ocean+0.62+1.12Warmest5th2016+0.78+1.40
Coolest170th1917-0.52-0.94
Ties: 2010
Land and Ocean+0.55+0.99Warmest11th2016+0.80+1.44
Coolest164th1917-0.57-1.03
Ties: 2007

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.

February 2023

Above-average February precipitation was observed across parts of western Asia, central eastern Europe, the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley in North America, and northeastern and southeastern Oceania. Meanwhile, drier-than-average conditions were present across much of western Europe, South and Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the southern and eastern United States.

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.

February Highlights:
  • Floods and landslides in Indonesia, New Zealand, South America and southeast Africa fit the La Niña pattern of rainfall anomalies.
  • Typical dry conditions during wintertime in the southwest and western U.S. under La Niña pushed toward the south and were replaced by heavy rain and snowfall, floods and landslides, and deep snowpacks in the region.
  • Dry conditions and drought continued in western Europe and southern Chile, where destructive wildfires burned over a million acres.

February marks the end of Northern Hemisphere (NH) meteorological winter and Southern Hemisphere (SH) summer. Its monthly precipitation features remain far to the south (see top panel in figure to the left), with the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) across the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean basins, bounded to the north and south by the sub-tropical dry zones and the mid-latitude precipitation belts outside the tropics.

These routine climatological features were overlain by the continuing (although somewhat weakening) effect of La Niña, which significantly contributed to the large-scale rainfall anomaly patterns over the tropics as shown in Fig. 1 (middle and bottom panels). The highly variable, but general positive anomaly across the Maritime Continent between South Asia and Australia is a key feature of La Niña, along with the negative anomaly feature in the central Pacific. Both these features had very significant extensions to the southeast to mid-latitudes, which is again typical of La Niña conditions. These strong features were present for February, despite the SST-based Niño 3.4 index ending at -0.3 for the month, which hints at a move toward neutral conditions. The peak rainfall amounts across the general positive area were very intense and, where located over land, associated with flooding in Indonesia and parts of Australia, but also caused problems further out in the southwest Pacific Ocean. As during this past January, the North Island of New Zealand endured very heavy rainfall (up to 400 mm in 24 hr.), this time associated with Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle (transitioning to a sub-tropical system). Even some smaller islands such as Fiji and the Solomon Islands were affected by tropical cyclones in February.

In the Indian Ocean, the dry pattern east of Madagascar and the strong wet area over southeast Africa were also La Niña-related features. Flooding was reported in South Africa, Eswatini (Swaziland), and multiple times in Mozambique, tied to that La Nina feature. Some of the flooding in Mozambique was associated with the record-setting Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which is among one of the longest-lived tropical systems on record. Freddy started off the coast of northwest Australia around February 6 and tracked all the way across the South Indian Ocean (reaching Category 5 at times), where it crossed Madagascar, hit Mozambique, and then wandered back and forth in the Mozambique Strait, touching Madagascar and Mozambique again and lasting into March. Interestingly, Freddy's track across the Indian Ocean is not obvious in the monthly precipitation map or anomaly field. The storm was very compact and although it had intense rainfall associated with it, Freddy's contributions to the monthly rainfall field (at 2.5° latitude/longitude resolution) were subsumed by otherwise dry conditions.

Northern South America saw floods and landslides in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela that were weakly linked to a typical La Niña feature. There were also devastating landslides and flooding in Brazil's São Paulo region (see the small positive anomaly in southern Brazil), with more than 30 dead and a reported 575 mm of rain in one 24-hour period. Further to the southwest, southern Chile continues to endure a long-term drought and experienced a heat wave early in the month that led to wildfires that killed 20 people. As sometimes is the case, however, flooding was reported in northern Chile (associated with a very small feature in the anomaly map).

For North America, La Niña usually means a relatively dry southwest quadrant of the U.S. As in the last few months, this pattern did not hold true in February as the dry anomaly was seemingly pushed to the south across Central America and Mexico. Meanwhile, further north across the U.S. Pacific coast and through the Rocky Mountains, precipitation was above normal, delivering heavy snow to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and above average numbers to the Rockies. Across the Atlantic, western Europe still experienced dry or drought conditions, especially in northern Italy where even the canals of Venice experienced relatively dry conditions, partially related to the lack of rain.

The December–February season results are summarized in Fig. 2 with the mean map for the month, the anomaly from climatology, and the three-month La Niña composite. Averaged over the last three months, larger-scale features begin to smooth out and resemble the La Niña composite, at least in the tropics. The major anomaly features in the tropics from Africa to South America were obviously related to La Niña. A notable exception is the three-month wet anomaly feature over North America, extending from off the west coast, through the Pacific coast states and northeastward to the Great Lakes region. The usual La Niña dry feature evident in the composite appears to be pushed to the south, with the significant wet anomaly for the past three months replacing the dry region typical of La Niña. That wet feature, made up of fronts and Atmospheric Rivers impinging on the west coast and moving inland, resulted in floods and landslides in northern California and major buildups of the snowpack in California and, to a lesser extent, Colorado.

The current La Niña has lasted about three years, but recently weakened in terms of its Pacific SST indices, and is forecast to end and to transition to "neutral" ENSO conditions in the next month or two. Therefore, we should expect a change in the precipitation patterns too.

Drought in February 2023

Drought information is based on global drought indicators available at the Global Drought Information System website, and media reports summarized by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

February Highlights:
  • Beneficial precipitation fell across parts of the drought areas in China and North America during February 2023, but the month was drier than normal over other parts of the drought-plagued agricultural lands of North America as well as parts of Africa and Europe and much of South America.
  • A significant amount of the world's agricultural lands was still suffering from low soil moisture and groundwater levels, with agriculture most threatened in parts of the Americas and Africa.
  • The afflicted areas include the Canadian Prairies, Great Plains of the United States, Brazil and Argentina in South America, Western Europe, eastern China, and northern and East Africa.
  • Like the last four months, of the continents, Australia seems to be in the best shape, but even parts of Australia were drier than normal in February.
  • According to media reports (BBC), the global shipping giant Maersk warned that increased droughts are forcing shipping companies to abandon some of the world's main river cargo routes.

Western and southern portions of Europe were drier than normal during February, while northern and eastern portions were warmer and near to wetter than normal. The dry area extended from Turkey, across the Mediterranean countries, to the British Isles. The February dryness is a continuation of dry conditions that have been happening on and off for the last several months. The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) reflects the cumulative effects of the dryness over time and shows that dryness for the last 6 months extends from Turkey to France and in a few areas to the north in Scandinavia, while the 12- to 24-month SPI shows very dry conditions across most of Europe. Southern to central Europe even has dryness out to the last 36 to 72 months. Continent-wide, Europe had the warmest May-February period ending February 2023, based on the 110-year NCEI record. When increased evapotranspiration caused by excessively hot summer temperatures is combined with the dryness, as seen by the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), drought conditions are even more extreme and cover a larger area that extends back in time over the last 48 months. Satellite-based (GRACE) indicators of groundwater and soil moisture reveal the impacts of this persistent dryness across much of the continent with low groundwater and soil moisture levels evident.

The European Combined Drought Indicator shows extensive drought in the British Isles, France, Turkey, and along the Black Sea coast, and locally in other southern parts of the continent. According to media reports (The Guardian), Italy's rivers and lakes are facing another year of severe drought after a winter of little rain and snowfall, raising the alarm on the implications for farming, hydropower and access to drinking water. CNN noted that "a winter heatwave, record low levels of rain and a startling lack of snow in Europe are pushing rivers, canals and lakes across the continent to alarmingly low levels, with experts warning there could be repeat of last year's severe droughts." France 24 reported that parts of Europe have not yet recovered from drought in 2022. The absence of precipitation in France equals the record set in spring 2020, as rainfall was less than one millimeter a day since January 21. The Connexion France added that France had 26 consecutive days without rain (January 21-February 17). After one of the driest winters on record in the country, rivers and lakes remain low. The French environment minister Christophe Bechu said water supply is more threatened than in 2022, when a prolonged drought curtailed generation from hydropower and nuclear plants, which need river water for cooling. Also, winter is a crucial time for groundwater recharge on the continent. In Spain, the Anadolu Agency reported that, beginning February 28, the government of Catalonia will enforce new water restrictions on nearly 6 million people due to a drought that has lasted more than two years. The Ter-Llobregat water system, which feeds large parts of the Spanish region, is at 27% capacity thanks to 25 months of hardly any rain. The Environment Minister noted that Catalonia has not experienced such an intense drought since 1905. Experts in England said that the country could be one dry spell away from a worse situation than last year, as reservoirs are still not refilled. The dry winter in Europe has reduced mountain snowpack, with the Associated Press reporting that snowmelt in Italy is insufficient for streams and tributaries that flow into the Po River, and snowpack in the French Alps, the Pyrenees and other French mountain ranges is also much lower than usual for this time of year.

In Asia, southern parts (especially India) and some eastern areas were drier than normal in February, with much of the continent warmer than normal. Precipitation was above normal over large parts of eastern China, providing some temporary relief to part of the drought area in China. At the 3-month time scale, dry conditions extend from India across Southwest Asia to Turkey, and in a few areas in Far East Asia. At 6 months, the SPI shows the drought area in southeast China, while 6- to 72-month SPI time scales reveal widespread dryness across Southwest Asia. Excessively warm temperatures have accompanied the dryness in recent years, with Asia experiencing the warmest March–February 48-month time period, continent-wide, in the 110-year NCEI record. When the increased evapotranspiration from excessively warm temperatures is combined with the dryness, as seen in the SPEI, additional drought areas are evident from Mongolia to western China and in northern parts of Asia at the 6-month and longer time scales. GRACE satellite observations reveal low groundwater and soil moisture across much of China to Mongolia, Southwest Asia, and north central Asia. Media reports (Radio Taiwan International) noted that Taiwan has not seen a typhoon make direct landfall in three years. Often, typhoons and the plum rain season are sources of water for Taiwan, but this year, changing weather patterns are starting to have some serious effects on water levels.

February was drier than normal over central to East Africa and over parts of the Mediterranean coast (the Maghreb region). This was a continuation of dry conditions which are evident for these areas for the last 2 to 36 months on the SPI maps, and out to 72 months for northwest Africa. February 2023 was also warmer than normal over the southern half of the continent, from the Horn of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa southward. The warmer-than-normal temperatures increased evapotranspiration, exacerbating the impact of the dry weather over central to East Africa over the last 1 to 2 months, as seen on the SPEI maps. Persistent heat in past months shows up as severe drought here and in north Africa on SPEI maps at 3- to 48-month time scales. Satellite (GRACE) observations reveal low groundwater and soil moisture across North Africa, East Africa, and central to southern parts of the continent. According to media reports (France24), the brutal drought in the Horn of Africa has left millions without food and impoverished amid the driest conditions in 40 years. Doctors and social workers report an increase in domestic violence. The Associated Press reported that the Horn of Africa drought is trending worse than the 2011 drought in which at least a quarter-million people died there. This may be a sixth straight failed rainfall season. This has been Somalia's longest drought on record and has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people. According to the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reported that drought is worsening in the pastoral parts of Kenya. Water sources are drying up. Livestock body conditions continue to deteriorate with livestock deaths continuing. In the north, the Morocco World News noted that the dam filling rate in Morocco has reached nearly 33%, as of February 20, after an intense year of drought in 2022. This is similar to the 2022 levels. Drought was developing in parts of southern Africa, where the Independent Online media outlet reported that Cape Town, South Africa's residents' water usage has surged while dam levels continue to drop.

Much of Australia was drier than normal during February 2023, with western and southern areas warmer than normal. Dry areas are evident in the southwest and along the east coast at 2 to 3 months, but wet conditions earlier limit dry SPI values to the southwest and north central coast at 6- to 48-month time scales, per SPI and Australian Combined Drought Indicator analyses. Low soil moisture and groundwater are evident in some parts of western and eastern Australia, as seen in GRACE data and on Australian Bureau of Meteorology analyses.

In South America, rain fell over the Amazon rainforest during February, but precipitation amounts were below normal across much of Brazil and Peru, as well as areas south. Above-normal temperatures for much of the continent accompanied the dryness, exacerbating the conditions. These regions, from Peru and Brazil south to Argentina and Chile, have been experiencing drought for the last 4 years, as seen on the SPI and SPEI maps. Satellite (GRACE) observations reveal extensive low groundwater and soil moisture. Drought in southern and western Brazil was confirmed on the Brazilian Drought Monitor. According to media reports (Prensa Latina), drought continues to threaten Uruguay's water supply. The agricultural emergency in Uruguay was extended, with drought possibly leading to requests for water conservation in various regions of the country. According to BN Americas, most of the Southern Cone (Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay) is dealing with drought and water shortages, with Chile being the worst affected. Through February 9, two dozen people in Chile had died and more than 350,000 hectares of forest and woodland had been incinerated by wildfires in the south-central part of the country as a years' long drought persisted. Reuters reported that parts of southern Chile are so dry that grass will not grow for grazing; feeding livestock through the coming winter will be difficult without animal feed. Argentina is enduring its worst drought in sixty years, pummeling soy, corn and wheat crops and reducing cattle herds. The relentless drought in the Rio Grande do Sul region continued to limit Brazil's soybean potential this year. According to ETF Trends, a Successful Farming article noted that "Argentina's Rosario grains exchange (BCR) on Wednesday cut its 2022/23 soybean harvest estimate to 34.5 million tonnes from the previous 37 million tonnes, which would mark the lowest production of the grain in the last 14 years."

In North America, above-normal precipitation fell from the central Plains to Great Lakes, but much of northern Canada, the Canadian Maritimes to northeastern U.S., the Pacific Northwest to southern Canadian Prairies, and the Gulf of Mexico region were drier than normal in February. Much of Mexico and the eastern U.S. were warmer than normal while the rest of the continent was near to cooler than normal. Most of southern and north central Canada, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, and Gulf coast were drier than normal at the 2- to 3-month time scales, with the central to southern Plains in the U.S. added to the dry region at 6 to 36 months. Unusually hot temperatures have occurred in recent years, especially over the western U.S. The increased evapotranspiration caused by the warmer-than-average temperatures increased the intensity of drought in the previously-mentioned dry regions, as seen on the SPEI maps, with the U.S. West included at 24- to 48-month time scales. The persistent dryness over the western U.S. over the last two decades has reduced reservoir levels along the Colorado River, with Lake Powell reaching a new all-time low in February. GRACE satellite data revealed low groundwater and soil moisture levels over northern Mexico, from the southern Plains to Pacific Northwest in the U.S., and extending across western to central and north central Canada. The North American Drought Monitor product depicted drought across much of western to central Canada, most of the central to western U.S., the Gulf of Mexico coast, and much of Mexico. According to media reports (BN Americas), Mexico's IMCO reported that, over the past few years, the central and northern regions of the country have faced water scarcity issues due to increasing droughts. If this issue continues to increase, there could be a large impact on energy production at a national level, which could impact Mexico's population and economy. The media company, 650 CKOM, reported that low profits, drought and a shortage of veterinarians are threatening Saskatchewan's cattle industry. CTV News noted that U.S. and Canadian beef farmers continued to thin their herds in near-record numbers, due to drought and other extreme weather events. This may lead to supply problems in the beef industry over the longer term.


References

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for February 2023, published online March 2023, retrieved on March 23, 2023 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202302.