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Assessing the Global Climate in February 2017

Globe had second warmest February, season, and year to date on record

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for February 2017 was the second highest for the month of February in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880.  The December–February seasonal and year to date global temperatures were also second warmest on record.

This monthly summary is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

Map of global selected significant climate anomalies and events for February 2017

February 2017

Temperature

Map of global temperature percentiles for February 2017

  • The February temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76°F above the 20th century average of 53.9°F. This was the second highest for February in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2016.
  • The February globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.20°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This value was also the second highest February land global temperature in the record, trailing behind 2016.
  • The February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.24°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.6°F—the second highest global ocean temperature for February in the record, behind the record year 2016.

Snow Cover and Sea Ice

Maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent in February 2017

  • According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during February was 150,000 square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This was the 22nd largest February Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 51-year period of record. The North American snow cover extent was the 15th smallest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the 19th largest.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for February was 455,600 square miles (7.6 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest February extent since records began in 1979 and 15,400 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 2016, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA.
  • The Antarctic sea ice extent for February was 290,000 square miles (24.4 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest February Antarctic sea ice extent since records began in 1979 and 60,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 1997. On February 13, the daily Antarctic sea ice extent reached a new record low at 884,000 square miles and continued to drop throughout the month, reaching 822,400 square miles by February 28.

Seasonal (December 2016–February 2017)

Map of global temperature percentiles for December 2016 to February 2017

  • The December–February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60°F above the 20th century average of 53.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the 1880–2017 record, trailing behind 2015/16.
  • The globally averaged land surface temperature for December–February was 2.74°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the record, behind 2015/16.
  • The December–February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19°F above the 20th century average of 60.5°F – also the second highest for December–February in the record, behind the record set during 2015/16.

Year-to-Date (January–February 2017)

Map of global temperature percentiles for January to February 2017

  • The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F above the 20th century average of 53.8°F. This was the second highest for January–February in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2016.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.99°F above the 20th century average of 37.4°F. This was also the second highest for January–February in the record, behind 2016.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.21°F above the 20th century average of 60.6°F. This was the second highest for January–February in the record, behind 2016.