February 2024 Selected Climate Anomalies and Events Map

Temperature

In January 2024, the NOAA Global Surface Temperature (NOAAGlobalTemp) dataset version 6.0.0 replaced version 5.1.0. This new version incorporates an artificial neural network (ANN) method to improve the spatial interporlation of monthly land surface air temperatures. The period of record (1850-present) and complete global coverage remain the same as in the previous version of NOAAGlobalTemp. 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 6.0.0, updated in 2024, uses comprehensive data collections of increased global area coverage over both land and ocean surfaces. NOAAGlobalTempv6.0.0 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 These factors, together, mean that calculations from the past may be superseded by the most recent data and can affect the numbers reported in the monthly climate reports.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 2024

The February global surface temperature was 1.40°C (2.52°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F), making it the warmest February on record. This was 0.06°C (0.11°F) above the previous record from February 2016. February 2024 marked the 45th-consecutive February (since March 1979) with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average.

February had a record-high monthly global ocean surface temperature for the 11th consecutive month. El Niño conditions that emerged in June 2023 continued into February, and according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center it is likely that El Niño will transition to ENSO-neutral by April-June 2024 (83% chance), with increasing odds of La Niña developing in June-August 2024 (62% chance).

The Northern Hemisphere tied 2016 as the warmest February on record at 1.85°C (3.33°F) above average. The Northern Hemisphere land temperature tied 2020 as the second highest on record while the ocean temperature was again record-high by a wide margin (0.32°C/0.58°F warmer than February 2020). The Arctic region had its third warmest February on record.

February 2024 in the Southern Hemisphere also ranked warmest on record at 0.95°C (1.71°F) above average. The ocean-only temperature for February in the Southern Hemisphere ranked highest on record, while the land-only Southern Hemisphere temperature was 2nd warmest on record. Meanwhile, the Antarctic region had its 54th coolest February, 0.17°C (0.31°F) below average.

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

Temperatures were warmer to much-warmer-than-average across the Arctic with the exception of much of Greenland to northern Iceland, and parts of the North Atlantic. Above-average to much-above-average temperatures also covered almost all of North America, most of western Europe into western Asia, most of South America, Africa and Australia. Record warm February temperatures affected many parts of Europe, South America, and in the southern half of Africa. As was the case in January, sea surface temperatures were again above average across much of the northern, western, and equatorial Pacific Ocean. Record-warm February temperatures covered much of the northeastern and tropical Atlantic Ocean as well as large parts of the Indian Ocean. Record-warm temperatures covered approximately 13.8% of the world's surface this February, which was the highest percentage for February since the start of records in 1951, and 7.4% higher than the previous February record in 1986.

Near-average to cooler-than-average temperatures covered much of central and eastern Russia, Mongolia, large parts of China, some areas in northern Australia, and parts of Antarctica in February. As they were in January, sea surface temperatures were again near to below average over parts of the southeastern Pacific Ocean, the southern Ocean, and southwestern Indian Ocean as well as over parts of the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic Ocean. Zero percent of the world's surface had a record-cold February.

North America, South America and Europe had their warmest Februarys on record, while Africa had its second warmest February, behind 2010.

  • The United Kingdom experienced its second warmest February on record, with an average temperature of 6.3°C, and England and Wales had their respective warmest Februarys on record, based on preliminary data.
  • Germany recorded its warmest February on record, 5.1°C (9.2°F) warmer than the 1991–2020 average.
  • MeteoSwiss reported this February as the warmest on record for Switzerland, 4.6°C (8.3°F) above the 1991–2020 average.
  • The contiguous U.S. had its third warmest February in the 130-year record, 7.2°F above average.

February 2024 ranked fourth warmest on record for Oceania while Asia ranked 26th warmest on record.

  • Japan had its second warmest February since statistics began in 1898, 1.83°C above the 1991–2020 average.
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, this was the fourth-warmest February on record for Australia since observations began in 1910, 1.71°C (3.08°F) above the 1961–1990 average.
  • February 2024 was near average (0.1°C below the 1991–2020 February average) according to New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
February Ranks and Records
FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 175 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+2.23+4.01Warmest2nd2016+2.52+4.54
Coolest174th1880, 1891-1.32-2.38
Ocean+1.03+1.85Warmest1st2024+1.03+1.85
Coolest175th1911-0.49-0.88
Land and Ocean+1.40+2.52Warmest1st2024+1.40+2.52
Coolest175th1917-0.63-1.13
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.73+4.91Warmest2nd2016+3.17+5.71
Coolest174th1880-1.60-2.88
Ties: 2020
Ocean+1.19+2.14Warmest1st2024+1.19+2.14
Coolest175th1909-0.51-0.92
Land and Ocean+1.85+3.33Warmest1st2016, 2024+1.85+3.33
Coolest175th1893-0.81-1.46
Ties: 2016
Southern Hemisphere
Land+1.09+1.96Warmest2nd1998+1.23+2.21
Coolest174th1883, 1891-0.93-1.67
Ocean+0.91+1.64Warmest1st2024+0.91+1.64
Coolest175th1911-0.50-0.90
Land and Ocean+0.95+1.71Warmest1st2024+0.95+1.71
Coolest175th1917-0.53-0.95
Antarctic
Land and Ocean-0.17-0.31Warmest122nd1986+1.40+2.52
Coolest54th1920-0.66-1.19
Arctic
Land and Ocean+3.69+6.64Warmest3rd2016+4.52+8.14
Coolest173rd1979-3.81-6.86

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-202402.png

Seasonal Temperature: December 2023–February 2024

The December 2023–February 2024 global surface temperature was the warmest December–February period in the 175-year record, 1.36°C (2.45°F) above the 20th-century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F). The past ten December–February periods have ranked among the twelve warmest such periods on record.

The December–February period is defined as the Northern Hemisphere's meteorological winter and the Southern Hemisphere's meteorological summer. The Northern Hemisphere winter 2024 temperature was also the warmest on record, and marks the 39th consecutive winter with global temperatures nominally above the 20th-century average in the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Hemisphere summer temperature also ranked warmest on record, and marks the 48th consecutive warmer-than-average summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

December–February Ranks and Records
December–FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 175 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+2.11+3.80Warmest1st2024+2.11+3.80
Coolest175th1861-1.16-2.09
Ocean+1.02+1.84Warmest1st2024+1.02+1.84
Coolest175th1917-0.49-0.88
Land and Ocean+1.36+2.45Warmest1st2024+1.36+2.45
Coolest175th1917-0.63-1.13
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.65+4.77Warmest1st2024+2.65+4.77
Coolest175th1861-1.35-2.43
Ocean+1.23+2.21Warmest1st2024+1.23+2.21
Coolest175th1917-0.50-0.90
Land and Ocean+1.84+3.31Warmest1st2024+1.84+3.31
Coolest175th1917-0.77-1.39
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.88+1.58Warmest6th2020+1.04+1.87
Coolest170th1864-0.83-1.49
Ocean+0.88+1.58Warmest1st2024+0.88+1.58
Coolest175th1917-0.48-0.86
Land and Ocean+0.88+1.58Warmest1st2024+0.88+1.58
Coolest175th1917-0.49-0.88
Antarctic
Land and Ocean-0.36-0.65Warmest165th1977+0.75+1.35
Coolest11th2000-0.56-1.01
Ties: 1894, 1964
Arctic
Land and Ocean+3.43+6.17Warmest3rd2018+4.19+7.54
Coolest173rd1894-2.70-4.86

Over the land surface, air temperatures for the season were much-above-average across large parts of North America which had its warmest winter on record. An exception to the warmth in North America occurred in Alaska and large parts of Greenland. Some of the largest positive anomalies of the season, greater than 3°C (5.4°F) above the 1991–2020 average occurred in parts of central and eastern Canada and the Upper Midwest of the U.S. The persistent much-above and record-warm temperatures brought Great Lakes ice cover to historic lows by late winter. Much warmer than average to record temperatures also covered South America, which had its warmest December–February period on record.

In Africa anomalous warmth covered most of the continent, where the December–February period was the second warmest on record, and warmer-than-average temperatures covered much of Europe, which also had its second warmest winter on record. It was the third warmest winter on record for the Arctic. Anomalous seasonal warmth also stretched from Southwest Asia, where record temperatures were widespread, into western and southern China and Japan as well as Australia and Oceania. Oceania had its third warmest December–February and Asia its 10th warmest.

Another exception to the winter warmth occurred in northern areas of Europe where near-average to below-average temperatures stretched from Scandinavia to northwestern areas of Russia. Near-average and below-average winter temperatures also covered large parts of central and eastern Russia as well as parts of eastern China. Below-average temperatures covered most of the Antarctic, where the summer tied 1894 and 1964 as 11th coldest on record.

Sea surface temperatures for the December–February period were above average across much of the northern, western, and equatorial Pacific Ocean as well as parts of the western Indian Ocean. Much of the tropical and eastern Atlantic Ocean were record warm. Sea surface temperatures for the season were near to below average over parts of the Gulf of Mexico and northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the southwestern Atlantic, the southeastern Pacific, the Southern Ocean, and the southwestern 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 2.74°C (4.93°F) above the 20th century average. Africa's December to February period also ranked second warmest, 1.70°C (3.06°F) above average.

  • Germany experienced its third warmest winter on record, 2.7°C above the 1991–2020 average.
  • Switzerland recorded its mildwest winter since measurements began, 2.8°C (5.0°F) above the 1991–2020 average.
  • Following a record warm January and anomalous February warmth, Morocco recorded its warmest winter since the start of the national record in 1981, 2.82°C (5.1°F) above the 1991–2020 average.

North America (3.43°C; 6.17°F above average) and South America (1.94°C; 3.49°F above average) each recorded a December to February period that was warmest on record.

  • The contiguous U.S. had its warmest winter on record.
  • Canada had its warmest winter on record by a wide margin, 1.1°C (2°F) warmer than the previous record warm winter in 2009-2010, based on preliminary data from Environment Canada.
  • The Hawaiian region recorded its sixteenth-warmest winter on record.
  • The Caribbean Islands had their warmest winter on record.

Asia had its tenth-warmest December to February (1.81°C; 3.26°F above average) and Oceania its third warmest for the 3-month period (1.50°C; 2.70°F above average).

  • In Japan, this winter was the second warmest since statistics began in 1898, 1.27°C above the 1991–2020 average. This was slightly cooler than the 2020 season.
  • In Australia, the national mean temperature for summer was 1.62°C above the 1961–1990 average, the third-warmest on record.
  • Summer in New Zealand ranked ninth warmest on record at 0.8°C above the 1991–2020 average.


Year-to-date Temperature: January–February 2024

The January–February global surface temperature was the warmest in the 175-year record at 1.34°C (2.41°F) above the 1901-2000 average of 12.1°C (53.8°F).

January to February was characterized by much-warmer-than-average to record-warm conditions across many parts of the globe. The most extensive area of much-above and record-warm conditions occurred in South America, which had its warmest January-February (year-to-date) on record. Above average to record warm conditions also covered large parts of Africa, Europe, and Oceania, each which had their second warmest January-Februarys on record. In North America, temperatures more than 3°C (5.4°F) above the 1991–2020 average covered a large area from the Upper Midwest of the United States and south-central Canada to Quebec province and Newfoundland and Labrador. Anomalies in excess of 3°C (5.4°F) were widespread in northwestern areas of Siberia and throughout large parts of the Arctic, which had its fourth warmest January-February on record, 3.27°C (5.89°F) above average.

In contrast, near to below-average January-February temperatures covered most of Antarctica, as well as much of Alaska, northwestern Canada, Greenland, and an area that stretched from Scandinavia to western parts of Russia, southern and eastern areas of Russia, eastern Mongolia, parts of China, and locations in and near the Himalayas.

Sea surface temperatures for the January–February period were above average across much of the northern, western, and equatorial Pacific Ocean as well as parts of the western Indian Ocean. Much of the tropical and northeastern Atlantic Ocean were record warm. Sea surface temperatures for the two-month period were near to below average over parts of the Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the southwestern Atlantic, the southeastern Pacific, the Southern Ocean, and the southwestern Indian Ocean.

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

South America had its warmest January–February period on record. Europe, Africa, and Oceania each had their second-warmest January–February periods on record. North America had its 4th warmest and Asia its 14th warmest.

January–February Ranks and Records
January–FebruaryAnomalyRank
(out of 175 years)
Records
°C°FYear(s)°C°F
Global
Land+2.05+3.69Warmest3rd2016+2.24+4.03
Coolest173rd1893-1.21-2.18
Ocean+1.03+1.85Warmest1st2024+1.03+1.85
Coolest175th1917-0.52-0.94
Land and Ocean+1.34+2.41Warmest1st2024+1.34+2.41
Coolest175th1861, 1917-0.58-1.04
Northern Hemisphere
Land+2.57+4.63Warmest3rd2016+2.83+5.09
Coolest173rd1893-1.56-2.81
Ocean+1.21+2.18Warmest1st2024+1.21+2.18
Coolest175th1917-0.52-0.94
Land and Ocean+1.79+3.22Warmest1st2024+1.79+3.22
Coolest175th1893-0.87-1.57
Southern Hemisphere
Land+0.86+1.55Warmest8th2010+1.03+1.85
Coolest168th1904-0.80-1.44
Ocean+0.90+1.62Warmest1st2024+0.90+1.62
Coolest175th1917-0.51-0.92
Land and Ocean+0.89+1.60Warmest1st2024+0.89+1.60
Coolest175th1917-0.52-0.94
Antarctic
Land and Ocean-0.38-0.68Warmest161st1939, 1986+0.71+1.28
Coolest15th2000-0.48-0.86
Arctic
Land and Ocean+3.27+5.89Warmest4th2016+4.75+8.55
Coolest172nd1894-2.78-5.00

Precipitation

The maps shown below represent land-only precipitation anomalies and land-only percent of normal precipitation based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations.

February 2024

Above-average February precipitation occurred across much of the western U.S. and the western half of Alaska, eastern Brazil, much of western and northern Europe, central Asia, and much of central and eastern China and Japan. Northern and eastern areas of Australia also received generally above average precipitation in February. Precipitation was below average in much of the eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, much of Mexico, the Amazon basin, large parts of southeastern Europe, much of India and Southeast Asia, as well as most observing locations in West and North Africa.

  • Heavy rain in late February triggered flooding in several regions in northern Spain. 24-hour rainfall totals exceeded 120 millimeters (4.7 in.) in many locations.
  • In central and northern Italy, heavy rain in late February led to flooding and landslides.
  • In the U.S. West a series of atmospheric river events caused significant flooding and landslides in parts of California. The city of Los Angeles received more than 305 millimeters (12 in.) of rain during February, approximately three times the February average, becoming the wettest February in decades for the city.
  • Heavy rainfall in northern and western Ecuador resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage in February.
  • In northern Madagascar heavy rainfall throughout most of February resulted in widespread flooding.
  • In southern Africa generally below-average seasonal rainfall under the influence of El Niño led to one of the driest Februarys in the past forty years in the central part of the region, across the Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana border.
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily brought heavy rain to Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory in early February. Daily rainfall totals exceeded 150 millimeters (5.9 in.) in many locations with a 24-hour report as high as 332 millimeters (13.1 in.).
  • Drought in February

    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 Overview:

    GDIS global indicators revealed dry conditions continued during February 2024 across northern and eastern parts of North America, Central America, Brazil to the northern coast of South America, southern parts of South America, much of southern Africa and parts of central to northern Africa, southeastern Europe to Southwest Asia, parts of Siberia, and much of Oceania from Southeast Asia to New Zealand. Most of the continents, except Asia, were much warmer than normal, making February 2024 the warmest February in the 1850-2024 NOAA/NCEI record, globally. The unusually warm temperatures increased evapotranspiration in many areas, exacerbating the drought conditions. The Mediterranean region continued particularly dry. The European Union’s Science Hub published a report by the EU’s Joint Research Centre that noted long-lasting, above-average temperatures, warm spells and poor precipitation have led to severe drought conditions in the Mediterranean region, affecting numerous areas across southern Italy, southern Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. In the midst of winter, the ongoing drought was already having critical impacts. This follows severe and prolonged drought events that impacted northern Africa during the last 6 years and Europe for over 2 years. According to an analysis tool of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, the Mediterranean region had the fourth driest year in 2022 and 25th driest year in 2023, based on 1940-2023 data; for temperatures, the region ranked warmest for 2023 and second warmest for 2022. A study published in Nature found the Amazon rainforest is approaching a tipping point, including a large-scale collapse, which would have devastating consequences for the world’s climate system. The Climate Change Institute analysis tool ranks 2023 as the second driest and second hottest year for Brazil. A significant portion of the world’s agricultural lands was still suffering from low soil moisture and groundwater levels, and satellite observations showed stressed vegetation on all continents. The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor indicated that agriculture was most threatened in parts of Central and South America, Africa, Europe, and southern Asia. The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNet) revealed significant food insecurity continuing in parts of Central and South America, Southwest Asia, and much of Africa.

    Southeastern Europe and some Mediterranean coastal areas were drier than normal in February 2024, but much of western and northern Europe was wet. This precipitation anomaly pattern persisted at longer time periods, with southeastern and Mediterranean areas dry at 2- to 24-month time scales with some near to drier-than-normal conditions evident in Scandinavia, as seen on the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI). Dryness extended from southern Europe into north-central Europe at 36-72 months. Europe experienced the warmest February in the 1910-2024 NOAA/NCEI record, as well as the warmest September-February back through March-February (all 7 time periods). This excessive warmth increased evapotranspiration which made drought conditions more severe, as shown by the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). This was especially the case in southeast Europe for February, across the Mediterranean and southeast Europe at 2-6 months, and in these areas and northern Scandinavia at 9-12 months. The SPEI showed most of Europe with severe dry conditions at 24- to 48-month time scales. Satellite observations of vegetative health (Vegetative Health Index, VHI) revealed some stressed vegetation in southeast Europe and northern Scandinavia, but vegetation across most of Europe did not seem stressed. The recent precipitation improved soil moisture in western and northern Europe, but satellite observations (GRACE) indicated depleted soil moisture across southeast Europe into central Europe as well as interior parts of Scandinavia. GRACE data also indicated depleted groundwater in these areas as well as the Mediterranean coast. The European Combined Drought Indicator showed the most severe drought in parts of southeastern Europe, the Mediterranean coast, and northern Scandinavia, with 41.1% of the EU-27 territory in Drought Watch, Warning, or Alert conditions, which is more than last month. According to media reports (Euronews.green), residents of towns in the Andalucia region of Spain haven’t had clean tap water for ten months, and authorities in Barcelona are sending warning letters to residents who violate water restrictions implemented as part of the city’s drought emergency. Express (U.K.) reported that cruise ships docking in Barcelona, Spain, will not be provided water unless it is an emergency, and this policy may be spreading to other areas. According to Catalan News, the tourism sector in Catalonia, Spain, is preparing for the summer season as the region faces the worst drought in its history. In Lloret de Mar, on Catalonia's Costa Brava, hotel owners have banded together to purchase a mobile desalination plant to fill swimming pools and ensure drinking water is available during the summer season. The Town Hall of Ripoll issued an advisory to the town’s residents not to consume tap water from the local SOMASRSA water network, either for drinking or cooking. The reason for the advisory is the elevated level of arsenic in the drinking water, which exceeds 10 ug/l in the northern Catalan town. Euronews.green noted that Tenerife, Canary Islands, is planning to declare a water emergency as reservoirs run low due to ongoing drought. Some areas of Spain and the Canary Islands are experiencing major drought. The President of the Tenerife government said it has been one of the “driest winters in recent history” for the island. France 24 reported that regions across Italy are suffering drought or severe lack of rainfall. Snow levels were down in both the Alps and Apennines. The Italian snow water equivalent (SWE) -- the equivalent amount of water stored in the snow pack -- is down 64% this month compared to a year earlier. CNN added that the usually snow-covered slopes at the Apennine Mountain ski resorts near Rome look like muddy wastelands instead. Reuters and France 24 both reported on the impacts of drought in Sicily, which has declared a state of emergency over a drought which has withered crops, desiccated pastures, and led to water restrictions. Reservoirs are strained and inhabitants are having to stock up on drinking water; dozens of towns rationing water for agricultural and residential use and making supplies available only every other day. Euronews.business reported that olive oil is experiencing a staggering rise in price, especially in the southern European countries where it is produced. The price of olive oil in Portugal soared by 69.1% in January 2024 compared to last year, well above the average of 50% in the EU, according to Eurostat. As a comparison, general food inflation was 4.8% in January across the bloc.

    February was dry across parts of Southwest Asia, Southeast to South Asia, and north-central Siberia, with wetter-than-normal conditions across much of the rest of the continent. The 2- to 12-month SPI maps revealed these same areas dry, with more of Southwest Asia in parts of eastern coastal Russia dry. At 24 to 72 months, the dryness was located more in northern China to Mongolia, much of the Brahmaputra River Basin in southern Asia, parts of the Siberian Arctic coast, and most of Southwest Asia. Parts of Asia had warmer-than-normal temperatures during February, but most of the continent was near normal with the month ranking as the 26th warmest February, continent-wide. However, very warm temperatures dominated 2023, with the 4 time periods July-February, June-February, May-February, and March-February ranking as the warmest such periods on record. The dry areas in February were also the anomalously warm areas, so the SPEI showed more extreme dryness than the SPI in these areas. The persistent anomalous warmth increased evapotranspiration across much of the continent. The result was a hydrologic imbalance wherein the precipitation that fell was not able to meet the evaporative demand, so those dry areas indicated by the SPI were even drier on the corresponding SPEI maps, with dryness also indicated in western and southern Russia at 9 to 48 months. The area with the most severe and persistent dryness was Southwest Asia. Satellite observations (GRACE) and soil moisture models showed low soil moisture, as well as low groundwater (GRACE), across much of Southwest and Southeast Asia, northern and southern India, northeast China, Mongolia, and much of Russia. February is in the heart of Northern Hemisphere winter and soils across northern Asia are frozen, so the soil moisture anomalies there are more evident of conditions that were locked into place several months ago. Satellite observations (VHI) revealed poor vegetative health across Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and parts of central Asia and northern Siberia. Drought conditions were confirmed over northern, eastern, and coastal southwestern parts of India on the India Drought Monitor, covering about 25.9% of the nation, which is about the same as last month. Short-term drought was indicated across parts of Micronesia, and some short- and long-term drought was indicated on some of the Polyneisan islands south of the equator, on the NIWA Island Climate Update maps. According to media reports (Action Against Hunger), the warmer-than-average winter and much below-normal mountain snowpack are raising fears that water shortages will continue after three continuous years of drought and Afghanistan’s humanitarian and development crises will deepen further. The current Afghan drought is considered to be the worst drought in 30 years. The India Deccan Herald reported that as many as 692 farmers killed themselves in Karnataka between April 2023 and January 2024, according to Revenue Department data, highlighting acute rural distress in the wake of persistent drought conditions in India. The Star reported that Thailand plans to deploy 30 aircraft nationwide for cloud-seeding operations to induce artificial rain to battle air pollution and ease dry weather conditions in the main crop-growing areas. RTL Today noted that several areas of the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam are suffering drought and farmers are struggling to transport their crops due to low water levels in the region's canals.

    February was drier and hotter than normal in western Africa and much of southern to central Africa. These areas plus much of northern Africa, especially the Mediterranean coast (the Maghreb region), were dry on the 2- to 3-month and 12- to 72-month SPI maps. At 6 to 9 months, the dryness was located across southern Africa, including Madagascar, and western to northern Africa, especially the Maghreb region. Western, southern, and eastern Africa were anomalously hot in February, with the continent experiencing the second warmest February in the NOAA/NCEI record. The excessive heat increased evapotranspiration, intensifying the dryness of the regions seen on the SPI map and, according to the SPEI, adding the Horn of Africa as an area of dryness. Excessive warmth dominated 2023 and earlier years. With the 9 time periods from November-February back through March-February each record hot, continent-wide, most of Africa was in drought or very dry conditions, according to 3- to 48-month SPEI maps. The dryness was especially severe and widespread along the Mediterranean coast, in southern Africa, and in parts of East Africa. Models and satellite (GRACE) observations revealed persistent low soil moisture and groundwater in the Maghreb and adjacent northern and western regions, and over parts of central to southern Africa. Satellite observations of vegetative health (VHI) revealed stressed vegetation over the northern Africa, from the Sahel to Mediterranean coast, and southern fourth of the continent, with the most severe conditions in the northwest and southwest. An analysis by the African Flood and Drought Monitor estimated 27% of the continent in drought at the end of February, which is a little more than last month. According to media reports (NewsDay Zimbabwe), the drought that has gripped Zimbabwe has devastated the nation’s agriculture. The 24 News HD organization noted that, at the end of February, Zambia declared drought a national disaster with President Hakainde Hichilema saying the lack of rain has devastated the agricultural sector, affecting more than one million families. The southern African country has gone without rain for five weeks at a time when farmers need it the most, Hichilema said. Rueters added that Zambia has drawn up plans to import and ration electricity as the devastating drought looks set to affect hydropower generation, the country's main source of power. The prolonged dry spell would also hit food production and was likely to affect the mining sector. Environmental Health News reported that authorities in Cape Town, South Africa, are cutting down invasive trees to save water in an effort to combat drought. NASA Earth Observatory noted that several years of drought have left a mark on Morocco. Satellite observations of the North African country show that croplands and wildlands that are normally green and lush in the rainy winter months are instead parched and brown, and reservoirs that once brimmed with water are nearly empty. According to The Times Hub/Canada, cocoa prices have soared to around US$6,000 per tonne, something not seen since the end of the 1970s, which they explain is due to uncertainty around cocoa harvests in Ghana and Ivory Coast, which represent almost 60% of global production. The harvest is now threatened by the hot and dry weather which has already raged in previous years and caused a loss of yield.

    Northwestern to southeastern Australia was drier than normal in February, as well as the northeastern coast. The dryness was less widespread at the 2- to 3-month time scales, while SPI maps for 6 to 12 months show widespread dryness across the western half of the continent plus the northeast coast and Tasmania. This pattern persisted at the 24- to 60-month time scales, although not as severe, but at 72 months the severity increased. Monthly temperatures were warmer than normal across much of the continent, especially in the west. February 2024 ranked as the fourth warmest February in the 1910-2024 record, continent-wide, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). The Evaporative Stress Index (ESI) indicated enhanced evapotranspiration over western areas and Tasmania due to warmth during February and previous months. The effect of the enhanced evapotranspiration shows up in the SPEI maps as more severe and widespread dryness at 1- to 12-month time scales, compared to the SPI maps. Dry soils were evident in parts of the west and across Tasmania, according to GRACE soil moisture data. The GRACE data showed low groundwater across the west and in parts of the east, plus Tasmania. Satellite observations (VHI) revealed stressed vegetation across most of the continent, especially the west to southeast regions. These moisture anomaly patterns were confirmed by Australian Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Combined Drought Indicator analyses, which also showed low streamflows along the west coast and in scattered areas in the south and east, as well as Tasmania; some areas on the coasts had low water storage levels. Parts of New Zealand, especially central areas, were in drought at the end of February, based on the New Zealand Drought Monitor map prepared by the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

    • In South America, February was drier than normal from the northern coast of the continent to southern Brazil and over the southern half of Chile and Argentina. Dry conditions extended across Bolivia and into northern Argentina at the 2-month time scale and to the west coast of the continent by 6 months. The SPI maps show that dryness persisted in these areas at longer time scales, with the most intense dry conditions in the north over Venezuela, in western Brazil, and over the southern tip of the continent. The entire continent was warmer than normal in February, with the month ranking as the warmest February in the 1910-2024 NOAA/NCEI record. Excessive heat characterized much of 2023 as well as previous years. The NOAA/NCEI data show South America as having the warmest February back through March-February (all 12 time periods), continent-wide, as well as the warmest 24-month (March 2022-February 2024) through 60-month (March 2019-February 2024) periods. This persistent and historic warmth increased evapotranspiration which exacerbated drought conditions. This is illustrated by the SPEI maps that show much more intense and widespread drought at all time scales — the northern two-thirds of the continent, from northern Argentina and Chile to the northern coast, is in drought at 6-12 months, and virtually the entire continent is in some degree of drought or dryness at longer time scales. Satellite observations (GRACE) show dry soils across huge swaths of South America — from the northern coast to southern Brazil, across southern Peru and Bolivia, across central Argentina, and southern Chile and Argentina — with low groundwater over these areas and extending further. Satellite analysis (VHI) revealed poor vegetative health across much of the continent, with only a few areas (from eastern Brazil to northeastern Argentina) still normal to healthy. Drought was confirmed across most of Brazil on the Brazilian Drought Monitor (National Water Agency map, CEMADEN map), in Bolivia on the Bolivian Drought Monitor, in Chile and Argentina on the Southern South America Drought Information System (SISSA) and Chilean Combined Drought Index maps, and in western South America countries on the CIIFEN Western South America Regional Drought Monitor. The SISSA 3-month drought index indicated 38.6% of Chile and Argentina was in drought or abnormally dry at the end of February, while the 6-month drought index had 52.1% of the region in drought or abnormally dry; these values are less than last month. According to media reports (Euronews.green), a study published in Nature found the Amazon rainforest is approaching a tipping point, including a large-scale collapse, which would have devastating consequences for the world’s climate system. The region is increasingly exposed to unprecedented stress from warming temperatures, extreme droughts, deforestation and fires, even in central and remote parts of the system.

    In North America, the SPI showed February as drier than normal across much of the eastern U.S., across much of western Canada and along the St. Lawrence River valley to the Labrador coast, and from Central America to southern Mexico. At the 2- to 3-month time scale, much of Canada and Central America was dry along with parts of the U.S. and Mexico. At 6 months, dryness expanded in Canada, Mexico, and Central America, and in the U.S. extended from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. At the 9- to 12-month time scale, the southwestern U.S. was added to the dry areas. At 24-48 months, most of Canada and Mexico, parts of Central America, and the southern U.S. Plains to Midwest were dry. The dryness in the U.S. shifted to the western third of the CONUS (contiguous U.S.) at longer time scales. Most of North America was warmer than normal during February, with the month ranking as the warmest February, continent-wide, in the NOAA/NCEI historical record. The ten time periods from December-February back through March-February were also the warmest on record. The excessive warmth increased evapotranspiration during the warm season months, exacerbating drought conditions — virtually all of Canada was in some level of drought, according to the SPEI, at the 9- to 24-month time scales. According to NOAA/NCEI national analyses, the CONUS had the third warmest and 40th driest February in the 1895-2024 record, with moderate to exceptional drought covering 21.6% of the CONUS (18.1% of the 50 states and Puerto Rico), which is less than a month ago. Mexico had the 13th warmest and 33rd wettest February, nationwide, with moderate to exceptional drought covering 56.7% of the country at the end of the month, which is less than a month ago. In Canada, 45.8% of the country was in moderate to exceptional drought, and 71% was classified as abnormally dry (D0) or in moderate to exceptional drought (D1-D4), both of which are more than last month. Satellite (GRACE) observations revealed extensive areas of low groundwater across most of western Canada and parts of eastern Canada, the southwestern U.S. to interior Pacific Northwest, parts of the Mississippi to Ohio Valley, much of Mexico, and almost all of Central America. GRACE observations of soil moisture indicated dry soils across those same areas, except more of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys in the CONUS. Satellite analysis indicated poor vegetative health across western and northern Canada, northern Mexico to the southwestern U.S., from the U.S. central and northern Plains to Midwest, and across much of Central America. The North American Drought Monitor product depicted drought across the northern Rockies, central Plains to Great Lakes, and parts of the Lower Mississippi to Tennessee Valleys and Pacific Northwest in the CONUS; across much of Canada, especially from British Columbia to Ontario; and from the U.S. Southwest and southern Plains across much of Mexico. The Caribbean Regional Climate Center SPI maps showed areas of short-term (1 to 6 months) or long-term (12 to 24 months) dryness across parts of the Caribbean islands, especially in the far north and far south. In Canada, the AAFC (Agriculture and AgriFood Canada) reported that abnormally dry to drought conditions affected 85% of the country’s agricultural landscape, which is more than last month. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics indicated that drought affected approximately 24% of barley production, 30% of corn production, 11% of cotton production, 13% of sorghum production, 28% of soybean production, 29% of spring wheat production, 14% of winter wheat production, 17% of hay acreage, 16% of the cattle inventory, 17% of the milk cow inventory, and 18% of the sheep inventory at the end of February. Data from the National Water Commission indicated a 26% deficit in storage volume in Mexico’s dams, compared to average. According to media reports (The Weather Network), the continued drought in Alberta has led to an increase in the number of winter wildfires. Reuters added that Alberta authorities declared an early start to the wildfire season as a result of the unusually dry and mild winter, allowing the government to put more money and resources into tackling blazes. Canada endured its worst wildfire season on record last year, according to the federal government, as 18.5 million hectares (45.7 million acres) burned, nearly seven times the 10-year average. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Manitoba Hydro expects to lose more money this fiscal year than it previously projected, mainly because of widespread drought conditions across the Lake Winnipeg basin. The Western Producer reported on the need for rain and snow for agriculture. Dry conditions stretch across the Prairies and beyond, with nearly half the country experiencing moderate to exceptional drought. It’s the culmination of several dry years across the Prairies. Pockets along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border face exceptional drought conditions as the growing season approaches. AgWeb reported that last year’s drought severely affected yellow corn production in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, forcing Mexico to import between 14 MMT and 16 MMT of yellow corn this year, according to the Agriculture Minister. CNN noted that Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis of nearly 22 million people and one of the world’s biggest cities, is facing a severe water crisis. Years of abnormally low rainfall, longer dry periods and high temperatures have added stress to a water system already straining to cope with increased demand. Authorities have been forced to introduce significant restrictions on the water pumped from reservoirs. Prensa Latina said that the prolonged drought in Central America forced the Panama Canal Authority to keep daily vessel transits at 24 until next April, when it was previously 36 or 38. The Authority explained that these restrictions will remain in place until climatic conditions improve, especially with an increase in rainfall, which will probably not happen before 2025.


    References

    • 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
    • Gu, G., and R. Adler, 2022. Observed Variability and Trends in Global Precipitation During 1979-2020. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-022-06567-9
    • 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
    • Huang, B., V.F. Banzon, E. Freeman, J. Lawrimore, W. Liu, T.C. Peterson, T.M. Smith, P.W. Thorne, S.D. Woodruff, and H-M. Zhang, 2016: Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature Version 4 (ERSST.v4). Part I: Upgrades and Intercomparisons. J. Climate, 28, 911-930, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00006.1.
    • Menne, M. J., C. N. Williams, B.E. Gleason, J. J Rennie, and J. H. Lawrimore, 2018: The Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly Temperature Dataset, Version 4. J. Climate, in press. https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-18-0094.1.
    • Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.
    • Vose, R., B. Huang, X. Yin, D. Arndt, D. R. Easterling, J. H. Lawrimore, M. J. Menne, A. Sanchez-Lugo, and H. M. Zhang, 2021. Implementing Full Spatial Coverage in NOAA's Global Temperature Analysis. Geophysical Research Letters 48(10), e2020GL090873; doi:10.1029/2020gl090873.

    Citing This Report

    NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Global Climate Report for February 2024, published online March 2024, retrieved on June 23, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/global/202402.