Earth Posts 2nd Warmest February and 2nd Warmest Dec-Feb Season on Record

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month. February 2020 marked not only the second warmest February, but also closed out the planet’s second warmest December – February season on record.

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 55.91°F, which is 2.11°F above the 20th-century average. This February also marked the 422nd consecutive month with a global temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

It is also important to note that the ten warmest Februarys have all occured since 1998.

The three-month period of December, January, and February – meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere – was also unusually warm. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 2.02°F above the 20th century average of 53.8°F. That makes it the second warmest such period on record.

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

Coming on the heels of 2019, Earth’s second warmest year on record, these soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change.

In fact, February’s temperature marked the highest departure from average for any month during ENSO neutral conditions. That means neither El Niño nor La Niña was present in the Pacific to influence temperatures.

Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

A March Day That Felt Like May in NYC

The month of March has only just begun, but it felt more like mid-May in New York City on Monday.

In Central Park, the temperature soared to 72°F. While unusually mild, it was not a record breaker for the date. That honor belongs to March 9, 2016 when the high reached 77°F. Nonetheless, this Monday marked the warmest day the Big Apple has seen since last November.

The city’s average high for the date is 47°F.

The primary driver of this unseasonable warmth was a large ridge in the jet stream. Sitting over the eastern part of the US, it allowed warm air from the south to flow further north than it normally would at this time of the year.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Contiguous US Posts Sixth Warmest Winter on Record

The meteorological winter of December 2019 – February 2020 was unusually mild across most of the contiguous United States.

According to NOAA, the mean temperature for the lower forty-eight states was 36°F. At 3.8°F above average, the season now ranks as the nation’s sixth warmest winter on record.

Regionally, the eastern part of the country was particularly warm. Twenty-four states posted a winter season among their top ten warmest ever recorded.

Credit: NOAA

Winter 2019-2020: Seventh Warmest on Record in NYC

The spring equinox is still a few weeks away, but meteorological winter (December, January, and February) has officially ended and it tied the winter of 1990-91 as the seventh warmest on record in New York City.

The season, with daily highs ranging from 25°F to 69°F, felt like a temperature roller coaster. But in the end, the warmth came out on top. The city’s average temperature for the season, according to the NWS, was 39.2°F. That is an incredible 4.1°F above normal.

In all, sixty-three out of ninety-one days posted above average readings and every month was warmer than its long-term norm. In fact, February 2020 was the city’s fifth warmest February on record.  

In terms of snowfall, the city received a paltry 4.8 inches in Central Park, which is a staggering 16.5 inches below average. That makes the winter of 2019-2020 the fourth least snowy winter on record for the Big Apple.

This winter’s pattern of prolonged periods of warmth separated by a few short-lived cold snaps was largely driven by the North Atlantic Oscillation’s positive phase occurring more often and lasting longer than its negative phase.

The city’s warmest winter on record was the 2001-2002 season with an average temperature of 41.5°F.  Central Park weather records date back to 1869.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Feb 2020: Above Average Temps and Below Average Snow in NYC

February 2020 was not only a month of weather whiplash in New York City, but it was also a month for the record books in terms of above-average temperatures and below-average snowfall.

Of its twenty-nine days, twenty-two produced above-average temperatures, including one that was record warm. This unseasonable heat helped drive the city’s mean temperature for the month up to 40.1°F, which is 4.8°F above normal. That means February 2020 tied February 1954 as the fifth warmest February on record in the Big Apple. The top spot belongs to February 2018, when the average temperature for the month was 42°F.

February is usually the city’s snowiest month on the calendar, but this year only a trace of snow (less than 0.1 inches) was measured in Central Park. That makes February 2020 the second least-snowy February on record. Only 1998 produced less snow, with a definitive 0.0 inches. On average, February brings the city 9.2 inches of snow.

Rainfall was also somewhat scarce. Only 2.54 inches was reported. That is 0.55 below normal for the month.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Little Snow for NYC this Winter

February is usually the snowiest month on the calendar in New York City, but to date this year we have not seen a single flake. This shortfall of snow is indicative of the weather pattern that has dominated the region for most of the 2019-2020 winter season.

To produce snow, you need moisture and cold air in place at the same time. While the city has had a few cold snaps this winter, they have not lasted very long. Consequently, the storms that have rolled through the area dropped mostly rain. In fact, the city currently has a rain surplus and snow deficit.

Here is a look at the current stats for the season (December 1 to present):

All measurements in inches. Credit: The Weather Gamut

The spring equinox is still a month away, so things could change. If you are a snow-lover, keep your finger crossed.

January 2020: Earth’s Warmest January on Record

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with January 2020 marking the warmest January ever recorded on this planet. The previous record was set in 2016.

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 55.65°F. That is 2.05°F above the 20th-century average. January 2020 also marked the 421st consecutive month with a global temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below-average reading was December 1984.

It is also important to note that the ten warmest Januaries on record have all occurred since 2002 with the four warmest taking place since 2016.

While heat dominated most of the planet this January, some places were particularly warm, including Russia, Scandinavia, eastern Canada, Central Europe, and a large part of eastern Australia. The contiguous US was also above average for the month, posting its fifth warmest January on record.

Coming on the heels of 2019 – Earth’s second warmest year on record – these soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. In fact, January’s temperature marked the highest departure from average for any month during ENSO neutral conditions. That means neither El Niño nor La Niña was present in the Pacific to influence temperatures.

Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Record Warm February Day for NYC

The calendar says February, but it felt more like April in New York City on Friday.

According to the NWS, the high temperature in Central Park hit 56°F, setting a new record high for the date. The previous record of 54°F had been in place since 1938.

The normal high for this time of year is 40°F.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

Contiguous US Posts Fifth Warmest January on Record

January, the so-called Dead of Winter, was unusually mild across much of the United States. No state in the Lower 48 ranked average or below average for the month, according to NOAA.

Taken as a whole, the mean temperature for the contiguous states was 35.5°F.  At 5.4°F above the 20th-century average, January 2020 now ranks as the country’s fifth warmest January on record.

Regionally, the Northeast and Great Lakes were of particular note. Temperatures were much above average in both areas, with the Northeast posting its tenth warmest January and a large portion of the Great Lakes remaining unfrozen.

Credit: NOAA

January 2020: Tenth Warmest January on Record for NYC

January is usually the coldest month on the calendar for New York City, but this year it was relatively balmy.

Of its thirty-one days, the month produced twenty-four with above-average readings, including two that were record warm. This unseasonable heat helped drive the city’s mean temperature for the month up to 39.1°F, which is 6.5°F above normal. That means January 2020 now ranks as the city’s tenth warmest January on record. The city saw its warmest January in 1932, when the average temperature for the month was 43.2°F.

In terms of precipitation, January was uncommonly dry. The city only received 1.93 inches of rain, which is 1.72 inches below normal. Most of this modest total fell during a single storm. Snowfall was also scarce. On average, the city gets 7 inches of snow for the month. But this year, only 2.3 inches was measured in Central Park.

January 2020 was the 9th warmest January on record for NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut