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Assessing the Global Climate in 2019

NOAA reports near-record warm year for the globe

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The globally averaged temperature departure from average over land and ocean surfaces for 2019 was the second highest since record keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA scientists. December’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for 2019 was also second highest in the 140-year record.

This summary from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

2019 Global Significant Climate Events Map

 

In a separate analysis of global temperature data, released today, WMONASA and Copernicus scientists determined 2019 to also be the second warmest year on record. Analyses from the United Kingdom Met Office ranked 2019 among the top three warmest years on record.

Global Climate Highlights: 2019

2019 Global Temperature Percentiles Map

 

  • Global land and ocean surface temperature: For 2019, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.71°F (0.95°C) above the 20th century average. This was the second highest among all years in the 1880–2019 record and just 0.07°F (0.04°C) less than the record value set in 2016.

    • 2019 marks the 43rd consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average. 

    • The five warmest years have occurred since 2015; nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The year 1998 is the only 20th century year among the 10 warmest years on record.

    • The annual global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of +0.13°F (+0.07°C) per decade since 1880; however, since 1981 the average rate of increase is more than twice that rate (+0.32°F / +0.18°C).

    • For the 21-year span that is considered a reasonable surrogate for pre-industrial conditions (1880–1900), the 2019 global land and ocean temperature was 2.07°F (1.15°C) above the average. 

2019 Global Temperature Departure from Average Map

 

  • Global land surface temperature: The globally averaged land surface temperature for 2019 was 2.56°F (1.42°C) above the 20th century average. This value tied with 2015 as the second highest among all years in the 140-year record, behind 2016.

    • Record high annual temperatures over land surfaces were measured across parts of central Europe, Asia, Australia, southern Africa, Madagascar, New Zealand, North America, and eastern South America. No land areas were record cold for the year. 

    • The annual average temperature departure from average for South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania ranked among their three highest yearly temperatures on record. Of note, Oceania had its warmest year on record at 2.52°F (1.40°C) above average. Overall, Oceania’s annual temperature has increased at an average rate of +0.22°F (+0.12°C) per decade since 1910; it has almost doubled to +0.40°F (+0.22°C) since 1981.

  • Global sea surface temperature: The 2019 globally averaged sea surface temperature was also the second highest on record, with a temperature departure from average of 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average. Only 2016 was warmer at 1.42°F (0.79°C).

    • Record high sea surface temperatures were observed across parts of all oceans, specifically, parts of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and northern, western and southwestern Pacific Ocean. No ocean areas were record cold for the year. 

  • Global ocean heat content: The upper ocean heat content, which addresses the amount of heat stored in the 0–2000 meters depth of the ocean, was the highest on record by a wide margin. 

2019 Snow and Sea Ice Information

  • Northern Hemisphere snow cover: According to NOAA data analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the average annual Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for 2019 was 9.57 million square miles. This was close to average and the 17th smallest annual snow cover extent in the 1967–2019 record.

  • Arctic sea ice extent: Recent trends in the decline of Arctic sea ice extent continued in 2019. The monthly Arctic sea ice extent was record or near-record low from April through August, as well as October and November 2019. When averaging monthly data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the average annual sea ice extent in the Arctic was approximately 3.94 million square miles and the second smallest annual average sea ice extent in the 1979–2019 record. Only the year 2016 was smaller by about 10,000 square miles. The last four years (2016–19) have the smallest annual sea ice extent in the 41-year record.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent: The annual Antarctic sea ice extent was 4.16 million square miles. This was also the second smallest annually averaged value on record, about 30,000 square miles larger than the record small Antarctic sea ice extent set in 2017. The months of May through July had record-low sea ice extent during 2019, while January, March and November had near-record low extents. 

Global Climate Highlights: December 2019 

December 2019 Global Temperature Percentiles Map

 

  • Global land and ocean surface temperature: For December, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.89°F (1.05°C) above the 20th century average. This value was the second highest departure from average for December in the 1880–2019 record. Only December 2015 (+2.09°F / +1.16°C) was warmer. This was also the eighth highest global land and ocean monthly temperature departure from average for any month on record (1,680 months). The 10 highest monthly temperature departures from average have all occurred since 2015, and all have a temperature departure from average above 1.80°F (1.00°C).

  • Global land surface temperature: For December, the globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.22°F (1.79°C) above the 20th century average — the second warmest December in the 1880–2019 record, behind December 2015 (+3.58°F / +1.99°C).

December 2019 Global Temperature Departure from Average Map

 

  • Global ocean surface temperature: The December 2019 globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average. This was also the second highest temperature departure from average for December in the 140-year record. The record-warm December took place in 2015 (+1.53°F / +0.85°C).

December 2019 Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Map

 

  • Northern Hemisphere snow cover: According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during December was 16.78 million square miles, which is 200,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average. This was the 19th smallest December value in the 54-year record.

  • Arctic sea ice extent: The average Arctic sea ice extent for December was 4.61 million square miles, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA. This value was 344,000 square miles (6.9 percent) smaller than the 1981–2010 average and tied with 2006 as the fifth smallest December sea ice extent since records began in 1979.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent: Antarctic sea ice extent during December was 3.59 million square miles, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This value is 430,000 square miles (10.7 percent) smaller than the 1981–2010 average and also the fifth smallest December extent on record.

December 2019 Global Significant Climate Events Map

 

A more complete summary of climate conditions and events can be found at: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2019/13

 

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