November 2016 ranks as 5th warmest on record for the globe

December 19, 2016

With only one month left in 2016, the year is on pace to be record-warm.

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

El Nino drove much of the record warmth during the first two-thirds of 2016, while a weak La Nina cooled the globe down during the past few months. 

Record-warm months dominated in 2016, including: January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August. September was the second warmest month on record; October, the third; and November the fifth.

The average global temperature this November was 1.31 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 55.2 degrees.  This was the fifth-highest November temperature in 122 years of record-keeping, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

For the season, September to November, the temperature was 1.39 degrees F above the average of 57.1 degrees, ranking as as the second highest temperature for this period on record, 0.32 degrees cooler than the record set in 2015.   

The year to date, spanning January to November in this analysis, was the warmest such period on record. The average global temperature was 1.69 degrees F above the average of 57.2 degrees, surpassing the record set in 2015 by 0.13 degrees F.   

Here are some notable climate events that occurred around the globe in November.
Map of significant climate events that occurred around the globe in November

More noteworthy findings:

  • The globally averaged sea surface temperature was the second warmest on record for both November 2016 and the season (September–November), as well as the warmest for the year to date.
  • The globally averaged land surface temperature was the 12th warmest on record for November, the eighth warmest for the season (September–November) and the warmest for the year to date. 
  • Hurricane Otto, with maximum winds of 110 mph, was the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season and the southernmost to make landfall over Central America. 
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for November was 17.7 percent below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest November extent since record-keeping began in 1979. 
  • The average Antarctic sea ice extent for November was 11.1 percent below the 1981–2010 average, the smallest November extent on record for the month. 

More: Access NOAA’s report and download images by visiting the NCEI website.


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