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Assessing the Global Climate in November 2018

Fifth warmest November and fourth warmest year-to-date on record

Photo of Iceland mountain landscape by Pixabay.com
Courtesy of Pixabay.com

The global land and ocean temperature departure from average for November 2018 tied with 2004 and 2016 as the fifth highest for the month of November in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The September–November temperature was the second warmest period on record and the year-to-date global temperature was the fourth warmest period on record.

Map of global selected significant climate anomalies and events for November 2018

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

November 2018 Temperature

Map of global temperature percentiles for November 2018
  • The November temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.35°F above the 20th century average of 55.2°F and tied with 2004 and 2016 as the fifth highest for November in the 1880–2018 record. November 2015 is the warmest November with a global temperature at 1.73°F above average. November 2018 also marks the 42nd consecutive November and the 407th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.

    • Record warmth was limited to mostly ocean areas, specifically across parts of the Barents Sea, central and southern Atlantic Ocean, and parts of western Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean areas had record cold November temperatures.

  • The November globally averaged land surface temperature was 1.49°F above the 20th century average of 42.6°F. This value was the 16th highest November land temperature in the 139-year record. However, this was the smallest (least warm) November temperature departure from average since 2014.

    • The most notable land temperature departures from average during November 2018 were present across much of the Northern Hemisphere, with much of Alaska, western Canada, Scandinavia and parts of eastern Russia with temperatures that were 5.4°F above average or higher. Meanwhile, much of the contiguous U.S. and central and eastern Canada, and parts of central Russia had temperature departures from average that were 3.6°F below average or cooler.

    • South America and Africa had a November temperature that ranked among the eight warmest Novembers on record.

    • For a second consecutive month, North America had a cooler-than-average temperature. November 2018 was the smallest temperature departure from average since 2014 and tied with 1971 as the 37th coldest November on record.

  • The November globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.30°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.4°F – the second highest global ocean temperature for November in the record, behind 2015 (+1.53°F). The years 2014–2018 rank among the five warmest Novembers on record.

Sea Ice and Snow Cover

Maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent in November 2018
  • The November average Arctic sea ice extent was the ninth smallest in the 40-year record at 347,000 square miles (8.4 percent) below the 1981–2010 average, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA. During November 2018, sea ice extent increased faster than average for most regions.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent during November was 340,000 square miles (5.6 percent) below the 1981–2010 average and tied with 1986 as the second smallest November extent on record, behind 2016 (10.6 percent below average). Antarctic sea ice declined slower than average in November.

  • According to data from NOAA and analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during November was 1.47 million square miles above the 1981–2010 average. This was the third largest November Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 53-year period of record, behind 1993 and 1985, and the 10th consecutive November with above-average snow cover. The North American snow cover extent was the largest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the 13th largest.

Seasonal (September–November 2018)

Map of global temperature percentiles for September to November 2018
  • The September–November 2018 average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.44°F above the 20th century average of 57.1°F and the second highest for September–November in the 1880–2018 record. This value is 0.29°F cooler than the record high set in 2015.

    • Record warm temperatures during the three-month period were present across parts of western Alaska and surrounding ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Barents Sea, eastern Asia and western Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean areas had record cold temperatures during September–November 2018.

  • The globally averaged land surface temperature for September–November was 1.82°F above the 20th century average of 48.3°F. This value tied with 2012 and 2016 as the sixth highest for September–November in the 139-year record.

    • Five of six continents had a September–November 2018 temperature that ranked among the eight warmest such period since continental records began in 1910. Of note, Europe had its second warmest September–November on record, behind 2006.

    • North America had its smallest temperature departure from average for September–November since 1996.

  • The September–November globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.30°F above the 20th century average of 60.7°F – also the second highest for September–November in the record, trailing behind 2015 by 0.23°F.

Year-to-date (January–November 2018)

Map of global temperature percentiles for January to November 2018
  • The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.39°F above the 20th century average of 57.2°F – the fourth highest for January–November in the 139-year record. The 2018 year-to-date value was 0.34°F lower than the record high set in 2016.

  • The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.00°F above the 20th century average of 48.1°F. This value was also the fourth highest for January–November in the record.

    • Europe’s January–November temperature was 3.24°F above average and the highest such period since continental records began in 1910. South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania had a January–November temperature that ranked among the six highest such period on record.

  • The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.17°F above the 20th century average of 61.0°F. This was also the fourth highest for January–November in the 1880–2018 record.

For a more complete summary of climate conditions and events, see our November Global Climate Report.

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