December 2021-February 2022 tied as the fifth warmest on record; record-low February Antarctic sea ice extent
Globally, February 2022 was the seventh-warmest February in the 143-year NOAA record. The year-to-date (January-February) global surface temperature was the sixth highest on record. According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, it is virtually certain (> 99.0%) that 2022 will rank among the 10 warmest years on record.
This monthly summary, developed by scientists at NOAA’s 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.
Monthly Global Temperature
The February 2022 global surface temperature was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th-century average of 53.9°F (12.1°C), the seventh-warmest February in the 143-year record. February 2022 also marked the 46th consecutive February and the 446th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average.
The month of February was characterized by cooler-than-average temperatures across North America, Greenland and its surrounding northern Atlantic Ocean, as well as parts of northern Africa, central and southern Asia, Australia, and the central/eastern tropical and southeastern Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, temperatures were much above average across Europe, western/northern Russia, the Atlantic, eastern Indian, and northern/western Pacific oceans, as well as parts of Central and South America, and southern Africa.
Regionally, South America, Europe, and Asia had a temperature departure that ranked among their eight-warmest Februaries on record. North America was the only continent to have a below-average February temperature.
Sea Ice and Snow Cover
According to data from NOAA and analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during February was near-normal at 17.68 million square miles. Eurasia had an above-average February snow cover extent, while the North American snow cover extent was below average.
The February 2022 Arctic sea ice extent averaged 5.64 million square miles, which is 4.5% below the 1981-2010 average and the 14th-smallest February extent in the 44-year record, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) using data from NOAA and NASA.
The Antarctic sea ice extent for February 2022 was the smallest on record at 830,000 square miles, 29.6% below average. This record-low value surpassed the now-second smallest February extent set in 2017 (25.0% below average).
Global Tropical Cyclones
February 2022 had above-average cyclone activity for the globe with a total of eight named storms, four of which intensified to become hurricanes (also known as cyclones or typhoons in parts of the eastern hemisphere). The Northern Hemisphere had no tropical cyclone activity during the month, which is not unusual. The South Indian Ocean was the most active basin with five named storms, tying with the Februaries of 2000 and 2007 for the most named storms since 1981.
Seasonal Global Temperature
The December 2021-February 2022 global surface temperature was 1.51°F (0.84°C) above the 20th-century average of 53.8°F (12.1°C) and tied with 2015 as the fifth-warmest December-February period in the 143-year 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 2022 temperature departure made it the sixth-highest winter on record. Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere summer temperature made it the seventh-highest summer on record.
Regionally, South America, Europe and Asia had a seasonal temperature departure that ranked among the sixth highest on record. Even though North America and Africa had warmer-than-normal seasonal temperatures, each had their coldest December-February period since 2014 and 2015, respectively.
During December-February, temperatures were much above average across Central and South America, Europe, the Atlantic, Indian, northern and western Pacific oceans, as well as parts of western and southern Africa and western Asia. In contrast, Canada, the northern Atlantic Ocean and central/eastern tropical and southeastern Pacific Ocean had cooler-than-average December-February temperatures.
For a more complete summary of climate conditions and events, see our February 2022 Global Climate Report.