November 2021 was Earth’s 4th warmest on record

A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice.
A collage of typical climate and weather-related events: floods, heatwaves, drought, hurricanes, wildfires and loss of glacial ice. (NOAA)

The world sweltered through a November that ranked as the fourth-warmest November in 142 years of climate records.

The Northern Hemisphere saw its warmest land temperatures on record for meteorological autumn, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). 

Here’s more from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:

Climate by the numbers

November 2021

The average global land and ocean surface temperature for November 2021 was 1.64 degrees F (0.91 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 55.2 degrees F (12.9 degrees C). This was the fourth-warmest November on record — behind 2015 (warmest), 2020 and 2019. The world’s 10-warmest Novembers have all occurred since 2004. 

The Northern Hemisphere saw its second-warmest November on record, while the Southern Hemisphere had its 10th warmest, a tie with 2014. 

Continents-wise, Africa had its warmest November on record; South America and Asia each had a top-10 warmest November; and Oceania had its coolest November since 1999.

Season and the year to date 

The three-month-long season (meteorological autumn or spring, September through November) saw an average global land and ocean temperature of 1.60 degrees F (0.89 of a degree C) above the average of 57.1 degrees F (14 degrees C). This made it the fourth-warmest such period in the 142-year climate record. 

Looking at just land temperature, the Northern Hemisphere saw its warmest autumn on record, surpassing the second-highest land temperature recorded in 2020.

The year to date (January through November) global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.51 degrees F (0.84 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average, making it the sixth-warmest YTD on record.

According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Rankings Outlook, 2021 is likely to rank among the 10-warmest years on record.

A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during November 2021.
A map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during November 2021. Please see the story below as well as more details in the report summary from NOAA NCEI at https://bit.ly/Global202111.

Other notable climate events in the November report

  • The season was exceptionally warm for some continents: North America had its second-warmest autumn on record — trailing the record set in 2016 — while South America and Africa had their third- and fourth-warmest autumn/spring respectively. Europe and Oceania also had a warmer-than-average season, but it was their coolest since 2016.
  • Polar sea-ice coverage was small: The November 2021 Arctic sea ice cover averaged 359,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, which ties with 2009 and 2011 for ninth-smallest November in the 43-year record. Antarctic sea ice coverage was 370,000 square miles below average and the second smallest on record for November, behind November 2016.

More > Access NOAA’s report, and download the images.

 

 

Media contact

John Bateman, john.jones-bateman@noaa.gov, (202) 424-0929