NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center just released preliminary April 2012 temperature and weather statistics this week. As noted in the title, it was the 5th warmest April on record globally and land temperatures were the second warmest on record, according to NOAA.
In addition, it was “the 326th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average”
Here are some of the other big highlights (the following text, except for the line on the bottom, comes to us via NOAA):
- The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2012 was 14.35°C (57.87°F), which is 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.08°C (0.14°F). The global temperature departure from the 20th century average and the monthly rank were the highest since November 2010, near the onset of first back-to-back La Niñas in 2010.
- The global land surface temperature was 1.39°C (2.50°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5°F), making this the second warmest April, behind 2007. The margin of error is ±0.11°C (0.20°F).
- For the ocean, the April global sea surface temperature was 0.38°C (0.68°F) above the 20th century average of 16.0°C (60.9°F)—the 11th warmest April on record. The margin of error is ±0.04°C (0.07°F).
Unlike March 2012, where extremely cool and warm temperatures engulfed much of the Northern Hemisphere land surfaces, most of the world’s land areas experienced warmer-than-average temperatures during April 2012. The most notable warmth was observed across Russia, the United States, Alaska, and parts of the Middle East and western Europe. After experiencing very warm March temperatures, parts of western Europe experienced cooler-than-average temperatures, and in some locations the April 2012 temperatures were cooler than the March 2012 temperatures. Other areas that experienced cooler-than-average conditions during the month include southern South America, southeastern Africa, and northern Australia. Globally, the April 2012 land-only surface temperature was 1.39°C (2.50°F) above the 20th century average of 8.1°C (46.5°F)—the second warmest April in the 133-year record, behind 2007. This was also the warmest land-only monthly temperature departure from the 20thcentury average since November 2010 and the 137th consecutive month with global land temperatures above the 20th century average. The last time land-only worldwide temperatures were below average was November 2000 (0.02°C/0.04°F below average). Of note, the Northern Hemisphere land surface temperature was 1.74°C (3.13°F) above the 20th century average, marking the warmest April since records began in 1880.
Several national highlights are found below:
- The contiguous United States had a mean temperature of 13.2°C (55.7°F) in April 2012, which was 2.0°C (3.6°F) above the 20th century average, resulting in the third warmest April since national records began in 1895. Please visit NCDC’s National State of the Climate report for additional information.
- The United Kingdom’s (UK) mean temperature during April 2012 was 0.6°C (1.1°F) below the 1971–2000 average—the coolest April mean temperature since 1989. According to the UK’s Met Office, April 2012 was cooler than March 2012, an unusual event that last happened in 1998. For the first time since April 1989, April daily temperatures never reached 20°C (68°F). Provisionally, England, Wales, and Scotland had their coolest April since 1989, while Northern Island experienced its coolest April since 2000.
- Spain experienced below-average temperatures during April 2012. According to Spain’s National Agency of Meteorology (Agencia Estatal de Meteorología), the April 2012 national mean temperature was 12.1°C (53.8°F), which is 0.2°C (0.4°F) below the 1971–2000 average.
- According to Norway’s Institute of Meteorology (Meteorologisk Institutt), Norway experienced cooler-than-average temperatures during April 2012. Temperatures during the month were 0.2°C (0.4°F) below average. This was the coolest April since 1998.
- Sweden also had its coolest April since 1998, according to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).
- According to Germany’s Weather Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst), Germany as a whole had a mean temperature of 8.1°C (46.9°F), which is 0.8°C (1.4°F) above the 1961–1990 average and the 47th warmest (or 86th coolest) April since national records began in 1881.
- In Antarctica, the South Pole station reported below-average temperatures during April 2012, with an average temperature of -59.6°C (-75.3°F), which is 2.1°C (3.8°F) below average. On April 6th, a new daily minimum temperature record was set when temperatures fell to -73.4°C (-100.1°F), surpassing the previous record of -71.7°C (-97.1°F) set in 1982. The period of record covers 1957–2012. The April 6th minimum temperature also broke the record for the earliest recording of -73.3°C (-100.0°F) at the South Pole station. The previous record of -75.2°C (-103.4°F) was set on April 7, 1982.
The worldwide ocean temperature during April 2012 was 0.38°C (0.68°F) above the 20thcentury average of 16.0°C (60.9°F)—the coolest April since 2008 and tied with 2011 as the eleventh warmest April on record. April 2012 was the 427th consecutive month with ocean temperatures warmer than the 20th century average. The last time the ocean temperatures were below average was September 1976 (0.01°C/0.02°F below average). A snapshot of the global temperatures indicates that warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across the North Atlantic, north-central Pacific Ocean, and across the mid-latitude southern oceans. Cooler-than-average conditions were present across the northeastern and central Pacific Ocean, parts of the southern half of the South Atlantic Ocean, and across the higher latitudes of the southern oceans. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which is a climate pattern defined by a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature (El Niño) and the air pressure of the overlying atmosphere (Southern Oscillation) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, transitioned from La Niña phase to neutral conditions during April 2012, as temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean continued to warm. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to persist through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2012.
Averaging the global land and ocean as a whole, the combined land and ocean surface temperature during April 2012 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F), marking the fifth warmest April since records began in 1880 and the 326th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. February 1985 was the last month with below-average temperatures, at 0.01°C (0.02°F) below average. This was also the warmest global land and ocean surface temperature anomaly since November 2010, near the onset of first back-to-back La Niñas in 2010.
* Please note that the value depicted as record year (2000) for the Northern Hemisphere land is the second warmest year on record.
+ Please note that the value depicted as record year (2007 and 2010) for the Northern Hemisphere land and ocean tie for the second warmest year on record.
For more information on January through April information and precipitation data, check out the full NOAA post.