Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with March 2019 marking the second warmest March ever recorded on this planet. Only March 2016 was warmer.
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 56.81°F. That is 1.91°F above the 20th-century average. March was also the 411th 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.
While heat dominated most of the planet in March, some places were particularly warm, including Alaska, northwestern Canada, as well as large parts of Europe and Asia. These soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change.
For many people in the contiguous US, especially in the northern and central parts of the country, this March was relatively cold. To put this disparity into context, consider that the United States constitutes less than 2% of the total surface of the Earth. This detail also highlights the fact that climate change is a complex global phenomenon that involves much more than the short-term weather conditions that are happening in any one part of the world.
Year to date, the first three months of 2019 were the third warmest such period of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.