NOAA: Global Temperature for November Fourth Warmest on Record
December 16, 2008
The year 2008 is on track to be one of the 10 warmest years on record for the globe, based on the combined average of worldwide land and ocean surface temperatures, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For November alone, the month is fourth warmest all-time globally, for the combined land and ocean surface temperature. The early assessment is based on records dating back to 1880.
Global Temperature Highlights – 2008
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature from January – November was 0.86 degree F (0.48 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 57.2 degrees F (14.0 degrees C).
- Separately, the global land surface temperature for 2008 was the fifth warmest, with an average temperature 1.44 degrees F (0.80 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 48.1 degrees F (9.0 degrees C).
- Also separately, the global ocean surface temperature for 2008 was 0.67 degrees F (0.37 degrees C) above the 20th century mean of 61.0 degrees F (16.1 degrees C).
Global Temperature Highlights – November 2008
- The November combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 55.2 degrees F (12.9 degrees C).
- Separately, the November 2008 global land surface temperature was fourth warmest on record and was 2.11 degrees F (1.17 degrees C) above the 20th century mean of 42.6 degrees F (5.9 degrees C).
- For November, the global ocean surface temperature was 0.68 degrees F (0.38 degree C) above the 20th century mean of 60.4 degrees F (15.8 degrees C).
Other Global Highlights for 2008
- In the tropical Pacific, 2008 was dominated by El Niño-Southern Oscillation neutral conditions. La Niña conditions that began the year had dissipated by June.
- Arctic sea ice extent in 2008 reached its second lowest melt season extent on record in September. The minimum of 1.74 million square miles (4.52 million square kilometers) reached on September 12 was 0.86 million square miles (2.24 million square kilometers) below the 1979-2000 average minimum extent.
- The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most costly on record in current dollars, after 2005 and 2004, and the fourth most active year since 1944. This was the first season with a major hurricane (Category 3 or above) each month from July through November. With the exception of the South Indian Ocean, all other tropical cyclone regions recorded near to below-average activity during 2008. Globally, there were 89 named tropical cyclones, with 41 reaching the equivalent of hurricane strength (74 mph), and 20 achieving the equivalent of major hurricane status (111 mph or greater) based on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
- The United States recorded a preliminary total of just under 1,700 tornadoes from January - November. This ranks 2008 second behind 2004 for the most tornadoes in a year, since reliable records began in 1953.
- Torrential rains caused widespread flooding in parts of Vietnam, Ethiopia, northern Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, and the northern Philippines during November. Several million people were displaced and nearly 200 fatalities were reported. Monsoonal rainfall was much above average over many regions in 2008. Mumbai, India, recorded its greatest June rainfall in seven years, while Hanoi, Vietnam, observed its greatest October rains since 1984.
- Persistent severe to exceptional drought plagued portions of south central Texas and the Southeast U.S. in 2008. Based on the Palmer Drought Index, the 2008 percent area of the contiguous United States experiencing moderate-extreme drought peaked at 31 percent in June – July. Australia’s worst drought in a century eased early in 2008, but drought conditions continued in parts of the country.
- Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in November was 12.66 million square miles (32.78 million square kilometers). This is 0.50 million square miles (1.29 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2008 November average. Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent has been below average for most of 2008.
The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.
NCDC’s ranking of 2008 as ninth warmest if expected trends continue compares to a similar ranking of ninth warmest based on an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The NASA analysis indicates that the January – November global temperature was 0.76 degree F (0.42 degree C) above the 20th century mean. The NOAA and NASA analyses differ slightly in methodology, but both use data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center — the federal government's official source for climate data.
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