NOAA: Second Warmest October for Global Temperatures
November 18, 2008
The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for October 2008 was the second warmest since records began in 1880, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for October was 58.23 degrees F — 1.13 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 57.1 degrees F.
- Separately, the global land surface temperature was 50.72 degrees F — 2.02 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 48.7 degrees F, ranking as the warmest October on record. Much of the unusual warmth occurred over Asia, Australia, and Eastern Europe.
- The global ocean surface temperature of 61.41 degrees F tied October 2005 as sixth warmest on record and was 0.81 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.6 degrees F.
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January-October was 58.25 degrees F – 0.85 degree above the 20th century mean of 57.4 degrees F and ranking as the 9th warmest January-October on record.
Global Highlights for October
- Arctic sea ice coverage during October was at its third lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Average ice extent during October was 3.24 million square miles, which is 9.5 percent below the 1979-2000 average. The record lowest extent for October, set in 2007, was 2.55 million square miles. Arctic sea ice extent has been declining by an average of 5.4 percent per decade over the past 30 years.
- Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during October 2008 was 6.48 million square miles, which is below the 1967-2008 average and ranks as the ninth lowest October extent.
- In early October, Hurricane Norbert became the most powerful 2008 hurricane in the eastern Pacific when it reached Category 4 strength. The storm weakened when it struck Mexico’s southern Baja California on October 11, but still brought heavy rain, strong winds, and widespread flooding to the islands of Santa Margarita and Magdelena. Norbert tracked across the Gulf of California and made a second landfall on October 12 on the Mexican mainland Sonora Coast.
- Hurricane Omar developed in the Caribbean Sea on October 13. Omar reached Category 3 strength and was the first hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands from the west since Hurricane Lenny in 1999.
- In the western Pacific, slow-moving Tropical Storm 22W brought torrential rains to parts of Southeast Asia. On October 11-14, the South China island province of Hainan suffered flash floods in low-lying areas that forced thousands of people to flee more than 150 villages. The storm’s rains affected northern Vietnam during October 15-20, triggering flash floods that damaged more than 11,000 hectares of crops. Daily rainfall amounts of 12 to18 inches were reported from the storm.
- According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, October 2008 was an exceptionally dry month in central and southeastern Australia, ranking as the driest October on record for South Australia, second driest for Tasmania, and third driest for Victoria. This was the second successive very dry month in these areas. Parts of Australia have been experiencing drought conditions for over a decade.
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