Globe had 3rd warmest year to date and 4th warmest October on record

Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice coverage remains small
November 17, 2017

As a transition between summer and winter, October can bring just about any kind of weather depending on where you live. And around the world this month, it did: hurricanes and typhoons, heat waves and fires — even early snowfall and blizzards in parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and changes in sea ice coverage.

Let’s take a look at NOAA’s monthly analysis to see how the planet fared:

Climate by the numbers

October 2017

The average global temperature set in October 2017 was 1.31 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.1 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature tied 2003 as the fourth highest for October in the 138-year-old climate record. October 2017 was the 41st consecutive October and the 394th consecutive month where temperatures rose above the 20th-century average.

Year to date | January through October 2017

The year-to-date (through October) average global temperature was 1.55 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.4 degrees. This was the third warmest temperature for this YTD period. Nine of the 10 warmest YTD global temperatures have occurred since 2005, with the exception of 1998.

See this map of notable climate events that occurred around the world in October 2017.
See this map of notable climate events that occurred around the world in October 2017. (NOAA NCEI)

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

Below-average sea ice at the poles persists

  • The average Arctic sea ice coverage in October was 19.6 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the fifth smallest on record.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent in October was 2.2 percent below average as well as the fifth smallest on record. On October 11 and 12, Antarctic sea ice reached its annual maximum coverage (extent) at 6.96 million square miles, the second smallest that occurred on the second latest date recorded between 1979 and 2017.

Warmer-than-average lands and oceans

  • The globally averaged land-surface temperature ranked as 11th warmest for the month of October and second highest for the year to date (January to October).  

  • The globally averaged sea-surface temperature ranked fourth warmest for October and third highest for the year to date.

Oceania lead the continents in October warmth rankings

  • Oceania had its sixth warmest October on record; South America, its 10th; North America and Europe their 11th; Africa, its 13th; and Asia, its 19th.

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



Media contact

Brady Phillips, 202-407-1298