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Earth had 2nd warmest February, season and year to date on record

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents were also record-low
March 17, 2017
Climate collage.

With Winter 2017 mostly missing in action for many areas in the Northern Hemisphere, it appeared by the end of February that spring had sprung early — or was, at the very least, just around the corner. Balmy seasonal temperatures were also felt in numerous locations around the globe.

Climate by the numbers

 

February

February 2017’s average global temperature was 1.76 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 53.9 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This was the second warmest February in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016.

Season

The average temperature from December through February was 1.60 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 53.8 degrees. This was the second warmest for this period, just behind 2015-2016.  

Year to date

The year to date (January through February 2017) average temperature was 1.69 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 53.8 degrees. This was the second-warmest first two months of the year in the record, behind last year.

Locations of significant climate events that occurred around the world in February 2017.
Locations of significant climate events that occurred around the world in February 2017

Other notable climate events and facts around the world last month included:

Continued record-low sea ice extent at the poles

  • The average Arctic sea ice extent was 7.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average for February, and the average Antarctic sea ice extent was 24.4 percent below average. Both regions logged the smallest February sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979.

Above-average snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere

  • The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was the 22nd largest in the 51-year record. North America had its 15th smallest, while Eurasia had its 19th largest.

Warmer-than-average lands and oceans

  • Both the globally averaged sea surface temperature and the land surface temperature ranked as second highest on record for February, the December-to-February season and the year to date.

Continents experienced temperature highs and lows

  • South America had its third warmest February on record; North America, its fourth; Asia, it’s eighth; Africa, its 10th; Europe, its 17th (tied with 1997); and Oceania, its 25th.  

More: You can find NOAA’s report and download related maps and images by visiting the NCEI website.

 

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