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Assessing the Global Climate in October 2022

Earth had its fourth-warmest October on record

Lake reflecting trees and clouds and fall colored grass surrounding the water.
Courtesy of Canva

October Highlights:

  • October 2022 ranked fourth warmest for the globe.
  • Globally, land-only temperatures ranked second-warmest on record behind 2015.
  • Europe had its warmest October, and Africa tied 2003 for its third-warmest October.
  • Beneficial rainfall returned to parts of Europe, but October continued to be dry over the agricultural lands of Africa, the Americas, and eastern China.
  • October 2022 saw the second-lowest sea ice extent in the Antarctic and the eighth lowest in the Arctic.
  • There were 15 named tropical storms this month, which is the sixth-highest count since 1981.

 

Globally, October 2022 was the fourth-warmest October in the 143-year NOAA record. The year-to-date (January-October) global surface temperature was sixth warmest on record. According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, there is a greater than 99% chance that 2022 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record but less than 2% chance that it will rank among the top five.

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 October global surface temperature was 1.60°F (0.89°C) above the 20th-century average of 57.1°F (14.0°C). This was the fourth-warmest October in the 143-year record. October 2022 marked the 46th consecutive October and the 454th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average. 

Globally, land-only temperatures for October ranked second warmest on record, trailing October 2015 by 0.09°F (0.05°C). Unusually warm temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere land surface resulted in the warmest October land temperatures on record for the hemisphere, surpassing the previous record set in 2021 by 0.05°F (0.03°C). Combined with ocean temperatures, overall temperature in the Northern Hemisphere ranked second warmest on record after 2015.

 

Temperatures were much above average across most of Europe, northern and western North America, northern Asia, northwestern, eastern, and southern Africa, and across parts of northern Oceania and western Asia. Parts of western and central Europe experienced record-high October temperatures, which totaled 7.12% of the Earth’s surface this month. Sea surface temperatures were above average across much of the Atlantic, the northern, western, and southwestern Pacific, and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as parts of the eastern Indian Ocean. 

Temperatures were near- to cooler-than-average across parts of southeastern North America, central and western South America, eastern central Asia, and southern Oceania. The Gulf of Mexico, the central, eastern tropical, and southeastern Pacific Ocean, and parts of the western Indian Ocean experienced near- to cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures. However, no land or ocean surfaces had a record-cold October.

Regionally, Europe had its warmest October on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2020 by 0.69°F (0.38°C). October in Africa tied 2003 as its third warmest on record, while North America and Asia each had their sixth-warmest October on record. South America had its coolest October since 2013, despite having above-average temperatures. Oceania also had an above-average October temperature, but it didn’t rank among the 20 warmest on record.

Sea Ice and Snow Cover

Globally, October 2022 saw the fifth-lowest October sea ice extent on record. The Arctic sea ice extent for October 2022 ranked as the eighth lowest in the satellite record at 6.61 million square kilometers (2.55 million square miles). This was about 880,000 square kilometers (340,000 square miles) below the 1991-2020 average. 

Arctic (left) and Antarctic (right) October 2022 sea ice extent. Courtesy of NOAA NCEI and NSIDC.

Antarctica had its second-smallest October sea ice extent on record of 17.41 million square kilometers (6.72 million square miles). This was about 820,000 square kilometers (320,000 square miles) below the 1991-2020 average.

According to data from NOAA and analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during October was 510,000 square kilometers (200,000 square miles) above the 1991-2020 average. Extent in North America was less than average, whereas Eurasia had a slightly above-average snow cover extent for October. 

Global Precipitation

October precipitation was generally less than normal across the western, central, and southeastern U.S., Central America, southern Europe, central Asia, southern South America, as well as across parts of eastern China and southwestern Asia. Wetter-than-normal conditions were notable across parts of northern and northwestern Europe, southern central Asia, central India, northern Oceania, and eastern and southern Australia.

Global Tropical Cyclones

October 2022 saw 15 named storms, which was the sixth-highest October count since 1981. However, since only five of those reached tropical cyclone strength (≥74 mph), and two reached major tropical cyclone strength (≥111 mph), the numbers of tropical cyclones and major tropical cyclones were both below the 1991-2020 averages. The Atlantic had near-normal activity with three named storms including one hurricane, Julia. The East Pacific had four named storms and the West Pacific had seven, both above-normal counts for the month. Although storm count was high for October, the global accumulated cyclone energy, which is a measure of the strength, frequency, and duration of tropical storms, was the third lowest since 1981.

For a more complete summary of climate conditions and events, see our October 2022 Global Climate Report.

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