Polar sea ice coverage remains at near-record lows
Warmth continued its steady march across the world last month, making for the fourth hottest September on record for the globe and the fourth warmest year to date, according to the latest analysis by scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
In fact, the 10 warmest September global land and ocean surface temperatures have occurred since 2003 with the last five Septembers (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) ranking as the five warmest on record.
Let’s take a closer look at highlights from our most recent report:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature in September was 1.40 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 59 degrees. This was the fourth highest global temperature (tied with 2017) for September in the 139-year record (1880-2018). Last month was also the 42nd consecutive September and the 405th consecutive month with temperatures above average.
The year to date // January through September
The year-to-date average global temperature was 1.39 degrees F above the average of 57.5 degrees. This is the fourth highest on record for the January-through-September period (YTD) and 0.43 of a degree lower than the record high set in 2016 for the same period.
More notable climate facts and stats
Land and seas warming continued: The globally averaged land-surface temperature was the sixth highest on record for September and the fourth highest for the YTD period. The globally averaged sea-surface temperature was fourth highest on record for September and fourth highest for the YTD.
Record-warm continents: Parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia experienced record warmth. Temperatures were at least 3.6 degrees F above average across southern South America, Alaska, the southwestern and eastern U.S., much of Europe, the Middle East and parts of Russia.
Sea ice coverage remained smaller than average at the poles: The average Arctic sea ice coverage (extent) in September was 26.5 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the seventh-smallest extent for September on record. The Antarctic sea ice extent last month was 3.3 percent below average, the second smallest for September on record.