State of the Climate

The State of the Climate is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.

  • National
  • National Overview — a summary of national and regional temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • National Snow & Ice — snow and ice in the U.S.
  • Synoptic Discussion — a summary of synoptic activity in the U.S.
  • Tornadoes — a summary of tornadic activity in the U.S.
  • Hurricanes & Tropical Storms — hurricanes and tropical storms that affect the U.S. and its territories
  • Drought — drought in the U.S.
  • Wildfires — a summary of wildland fires in the U.S. and related weather and climate conditions
  • Global
  • Global Analysis — a summary of global temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Global Hazards — weather-related hazards and disasters around the world
  • Global Snow & Ice — a global view of snow and ice, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Upper Air — tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures, with data placed into historical perspective
  • El Niño/Southern Oscillation — atmospheric and oceanic conditions related to ENSO

Global Summary Information - March 2015


March 2015 and first quarter of year warmest on record;

Arctic sea ice extent smallest on record for the month of March


The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for March 2015 was the highest for the month since record keeping began in 1880. The year-to-date (January–March) globally averaged temperature was also record high.


Global highlights: March 2015

    March Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles

    March 2015 Blended Land and Sea Surface
    Temperature Percentiles
    March 2015 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C
  • During March, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.53°F (0.85°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for March in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
  • During March, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.97°F (1.65°C) above the 20th century average. This tied with 1990 as the second highest for March in the 1880–2015 record.
  • During March, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 20th century average. This was the third highest for March in the 1880–2015 record.
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for March was 430,000 square miles (7.2 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest March extent since records began in 1979, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA.
  • Antarctic sea ice during March was 420,000 square miles (24.3 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the second largest March Antarctic sea ice extent on record. The record largest March Antarctic sea ice extent occurred in 2008 and was 100,000 square miles larger than the March 2015 extent.
  • According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during March was 640,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average. This was the seventh smallest March Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 49-year period of record. Eurasia had its ninth smallest March snow cover extent, while North America had its 10th smallest.

Global highlights: Year-to-date (January–March 2015)

  • During January–March, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.48°F (0.82°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–March in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2002 by 0.09°F (0.05°C).
  • During January–March, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.86°F (1.59°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–March in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2002 by 0.09°F (0.05°C)
  • During January–March, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 0.95°F (0.53°C) above the 20th century average. This was the third highest for January–March in the 1880–2015 record.
  • For extended analysis of global temperature and precipitation patterns, please see our full March report