Warmest August and Warmest Summer On Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with August 2016 not only marking the warmest August on record but also closing out the warmest meteorological summer ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for August – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.77°F, which is 1.66°F above the 20th-century average. It surpassed the previous record set just last year by 0.09°F.

August 2016 also marked the 16th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books. Moreover, it was the 380th consecutive month with a temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

The three-month period of June, July, and August – known as the meteorological summer in the northern hemisphere – was also a record breaker. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 1.60°F above the 20th-century average.  That is 0.07°F above the previous record that was set in 2015.

While heat dominated most of the planet from June to August, some places were particularly warm, including Asia and Africa where continent-wide temperature records were broken. Here in the contiguous US, the summer of 2016 tied with 2006 as our fifth warmest on record. While every state in the lower-48 experienced above average temperatures, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were each record warm. Alaska posted its second warmest summer on record.

These soaring temperatures are attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Whereas El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it dissipated in early June. ENSO-neutral conditions have since prevailed across the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Year to date, the first eight months of 2016 were the warmest of any year on record. This increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

 Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

July 2016: Warmest Month on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with July 2016 marking not only the warmest July on record, but also the warmest month ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 62.01°F. That is 1.57°F above the 20th century average and 0.11°F above the previous record that was set just last year.

July 2016 also marked the 15th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books. Moreover, it was the 379th consecutive month with a temperature above the 20th century average. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

Since July is climatologically the Earth’s warmest month of the year, the July 2016 global temperature was also the highest temperature for any month on record.

While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm, including various countries in Asia and the Middle East where temperatures hit record levels. Here in the contiguous US, it was our 14th warmest July on record. Florida and New Mexico were each record warm.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were driven by the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. While El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it has since dissipated. In fact, ENSO neutral conditions prevailed across the tropical Pacific Ocean this July.

Year to date, the first seven months of 2016 were the warmest of any year on record. This increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

July 2016 was the warmest July and warmest month on record for planet Earth. Credit: NOAA

July 2016 was the warmest July and the warmest month on record for planet Earth. Credit: NOAA

June 2016: Warmest June on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with June 2016 marking the warmest June ever recorded on this planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.52°F. That is a staggering 1.62°F above the 20th century average and 0.04°F above the former record that was set just last year.

June 2016 also marked the 14th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books. Moreover, it was the 378th consecutive month with a temperature above the 20th century average. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

While heat dominated most of the planet this June, some places were particularly warm, including North America. Here in the contiguous US, with a monthly temperature of 71.8°F, which is 3.3°F above average, it was our warmest June on record. The previous record of 71.6°F was set in 1933. Arizona and Utah were each record warm.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were driven by the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. While El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it has since dissipated.

Year to date, the first six months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. This increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

June 2016 was the hottest June ever recorded. Credit: NOAA

June 2016 was the hottest June ever recorded. Credit: NOAA

2016 is heads and shoulders above the previous record warm years. Credit: NOAA

YTD, 2016 is heads and shoulders above previous record warm years. Credit: NOAA

Weather Observations Date back to 1700s at Chatsworth House

Traveling in the Peak District of England recently, I had the opportunity to visit Chatsworth House – the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire. (For a pop culture reference, check out the 2008 film “The Duchess”.) While I went mainly to see the historic home and beautiful gardens, I was pleasantly surprised to spot a meteorological instrument shelter and Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder on the lawn behind the palatial house.

Weather observations have been made on the estate since the 1700s. Even with updates to the instruments over the years, that makes it – as far as I know – one of the oldest, continuously operated personal weather stations around. Some of the highlights from its long history include:

  • Coldest temperature was -19°C (-2.2°F) on February 24, 1947
  • Wettest month was December 1914, with 23cm (9 inches) of rain
  • Driest year was 1780 with 49cm (19.3 inches) of rain
  • Darkest month was December 1930, with barely 7 hours of sunshine
  • Sunniest month was July 1989, with 255 hours of sunshine
  • The Great Storm of 1962 destroyed hundreds of trees on the estate

Given their substantial stake in agriculture, landowners of the 18th and 19th centuries wanted a better understanding of weather and climate.  Their extensive records helped build a foundation for what would later become the science of meteorology.  Today, they provide detailed local climate histories. At Chatsworth, observations are still taken every morning at 9AM.

PWS at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England. Credit: Melissa Fleming

PWS at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England. Credit: Melissa Fleming.

Warmest May and Warmest Spring on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with May 2016 marking the warmest May ever recorded on this planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 60.17°F. That is 1.57°F above the 20th century average and 0.04°F above the previous record that was set in 2015. Moreover, May marked the 13th consecutive month to break a global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books.

The three-month period of March, April, and May – known as meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere – was also a record breaker. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 1.91°F above the 20th century average of 56.7°F.  That is 0.40°F above the previous record that was set just last year.

While heat dominated most of the planet this spring, some places were particularly warm, including large parts of North America. Here in the US, Alaska marked its warmest spring ever recorded while Washington and Oregon posted their second and third warmest, respectively.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were fueled by a combination of El Niño, which has now dissipated, and the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Research by Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution Program shows that while El Niño gives global temperatures a boost, the majority of the temperature increase is due to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It should also be noted that no other strong El Niño event has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.

Year to date, the first five months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. This strengthens the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

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May 2016 was the warmest May on record, globally. Image credit: NOAA

2016 is on track to being the next warmest year on record. Image credit: NOAA

2016 is well on track to being the next warmest year on record. Image credit: NOAA

April 2016: Warmest April on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with April 2016 marking the warmest April ever recorded on this planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 58.68°F. That is a staggering 1.98°F above the 20th century average and 0.5°F above the former record that was set in 2010. This temperature was also the fourth highest departure from average for any month on record, behind March 2016, February 2016, and December 2015. Moreover, April marked the 12th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books.

While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm, including large parts of the Arctic and Southeast Asia. Here in the US, Alaska marked its warmest April ever recorded and Idaho, Oregon, and Washington each posted their second warmest on record.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were fueled by a combination of El Niño, which is now fading, and the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Research by Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution Program shows that while El Niño gives global temperatures a boost, the majority of the temperature increase is due to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It should also be noted that no other strong El Niño event has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.

Year to date, the first four months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

April 2016 was the 12th consecutive month to break a monthly global temperature record. Credit: NOAA

April 2016 was the 12th consecutive month to break a monthly global temperature record. Credit: NOAA

Revised Numbers Show January 2016 Blizzard was a Record Breaker in NYC

After further review, it turns out that the Blizzard of January 2016 – also known as Winter Storm Jonas – was a record breaker for New York City.

According to the NWS, the storm dumped 27.5 inches of snow in Central Park and not the previously reported 26.8 inches. That makes it the city’s biggest snowstorm on record. The previous reading was a tenth of an inch shy of the now old record that was set in February 2006.

The error was found during an investigation launched in the wake of the historic storm. Snow measurement techniques at eight different sights along the east coast were questioned, as storm totals seemed too high in some places and too low in others. In a statement, NWS Director, Louis Uccellini, said, “Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable, a problem compounded by strong winds and compaction during a long duration event.”

In NYC, the mistake stemmed from a communication issue rather than a problem with measurement technique. The Central Park Conservancy, the group responsible for measuring snowfall in Central Park, called their numbers into the NWS office by phone and one of the measurements was written down incorrectly.

In the grand scheme of this massive storm, an extra 0.7 inches of snow may not sound like a lot, but every fraction counts when it comes to records.

Blizzard 2016, NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming

New Yorkers enjoy the record 27.5 inches of snow dumped on the city by the Blizzard of 2016. Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, NYC. Credit: Melissa Fleming

March 2016: Warmest March on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with March 2016 marking the warmest March ever recorded on this planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 57.1°F. That is a staggering 2.20°F above the 20th century average and 0.54°F above the former record that was set last year. This temperature was also the highest departure from average for any month on record, surpassing the previous record that was set just last month.  Moreover, March 2016 marked the 11th month in a row to break a monthly global temperature record.

While heat dominated most of the planet, some places were particularly warm, including much of North America and Scandinavia. Here in the contiguous US, it was our 4th warmest March on record.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were fueled by a combination of El Niño, which is now fading, and the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Research by Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution Program shows that while El Niño gives global temperatures a boost, the majority of the temperature increase is due to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It should also be noted that no other strong El Niño event has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently.

Year to date, the first three months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

march 2016 was the 11th consecutive month to break a monthly temperature record. Credit: NOAA

March 2016 was the 11th consecutive month to break a monthly global temperature record.  Credit: NOAA

Warmest February and Warmest Winter on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with February 2016 marking the warmest February on record and closing out the warmest meteorological winter ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for February – over both land and sea surfaces – was 56.08°F, which is a staggering 2.18°F above the 20th century average. This marks the highest departure from average for any month on record, surpassing the previous record set just two months ago in December 2015 by 0.16°F.  February 2016 was also the 10th month is a row to break a monthly temperature record.

The three-month period of December, January, and February – known as meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere – was also a record breaker. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 2.03°F above the 20th century average.  That is 0.52°F above the previous record that was set last year.

While heat dominated most of the planet this winter, some places were particularly warm, including much of North America and Europe. Here in the contiguous US, it was our warmest winter on record.

These soaring temperatures, scientists say, were fueled by a combination of the current El Niño – a natural periodic climate phenomenon in the Pacific that boosts global temperatures – and the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. While not to discount the strong influence El Niño has on the climate, it should be noted that no other El Niño event of comparable strength has produced temperature anomalies as large as the ones seen recently. Also, it is important to remember that fifteen of the sixteen warmest years on record have occurred this century and they were not all El Niño years.

Year to date, the first two months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

February 2016. Credit: NOAA

Winter 2015-2016. Credit: NOAA

Winter 2015-2016. Credit: NOAA

Another Record Warm Day for NYC

Today was another record warm day in New York City. The temperature soared to 79°F in Central Park, which is a staggering 31°F above average. The old record of 74°F was set in 2006.

These late spring-like temperatures have brought many New Yorkers out of their winter hibernation. People are wearing shorts and dining alfresco at sidewalk cafes across the city. But, it is still March – a month known for changeable weather patterns in the northeast.

Looking ahead, above average temperatures are expected to stay in place for a while. That said, the long-term outlook for the month is forecasting a few shots of cold air returning to the area during the second half of the month. So, get out and enjoy the warm weather, but don’t put those sweaters and coats away just yet.