NOAA: December Global Ocean Temperature Second Warmest on Record

For the year, 2009 Annual Temperature Tied for Fifth-Warmest

January 21, 2010

The global ocean surface temperature was the second warmest on record for December, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record for December.

For 2009, global temperatures tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record. Also, the earth’s land surface for 2009 was seventh-warmest (tied with 2003) and the ocean surface was fourth-warmest (tied with 2002 and 2004.)

Highlights for December 2009

Global Temperature Highlights for 2009

Other Highlights

NCDC’s preliminary reports, which assess the current state of the climate, are released soon after the end of each month. These analyses 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.

Scientists, researchers and leaders in government and industry use NCDC’s monthly reports to help track trends and other changes in the world’s climate. The data have a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what to plant, to guiding resources managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.