October 2016: Third Warmest October on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with October 2016 tying 2003 as the third warmest October ever recorded on this 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 58.4°F. That is 1.31°F above the 20th-century average and only 0.47°F shy of the record that was set last year.

While heat dominated most of the planet this October, some places were particularly warm, including parts of Canada and Greenland. Here in the contiguous US, it was our third warmest October on record and warmest since 1963.

These soaring global temperatures are attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Whereas El Niño gave temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it dissipated in June. In fact, its cooler counterpart, La Niña,  prevailed in October.

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

October 2016 was Earth's third warmest October on record. Credit: NOAA

October 2016 was Earth’s third warmest October on record. Credit: NOAA