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.

  • Global
  • Global Analysis — a summary of global temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Regional Analysis — a summary of global regional temperature anomalies, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Global Hazards — weather-related hazards and disasters around the world
  • Global Snow and 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 - April 2016

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Note: With this report and data release, the National Centers for Environmental Information is transitioning to improved versions of its global land (GHCN-M version 3.3.0) and ocean (ERSST version 4.0.0) datasets. Please note that anomalies and ranks reflect the historical record according to these updated versions. Historical months and years may differ from what was reported in previous reports. For more, please visit the associated FAQ and supplemental information.


April marks 12th consecutive month of record warmth for globe


Global highlights: April 2016

  • The April temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.98°F above the 20th century average of 56.7°F. This was the highest for April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.50°F. April 2016 was also the fourth highest monthly temperature departure among all months on record, behind March 2016, February 2016, and December 2015.
  • The April globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.47°F above the 20th century average of 46.5°F. This was the highest for April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2007 by 0.77°F. This was also the third highest temperature departure from average among all 1,636 months in the 1880–2016 record, behind March 2016 and February 2016.
  • The April globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.44°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.9°F—the highest global ocean temperature for April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.25°F and besting 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred, by 0.43°F. April 2016 tied with February 2016 as the seventh highest departure from average among all 1,636 months in the record. Record high sea surface temperatures across most of the North Indian Ocean, along with parts of the central equatorial and southwest Pacific Ocean contributed to the April warmth. The 10 highest monthly global ocean temperature departures have all occurred in the past 10 months.
  • The April temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest 5 miles of the atmosphere) was the highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 1.37°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using version 5.6. It was second highest on record (behind 1998), at 1.15°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS).
  • The April temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly 2 miles to 6 miles above the surface) was the second highest for April in the 1979–2016 record, at 1.13°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was also second highest on record, at 1.08°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 1.39°F and 1.28°F, respectively, both second highest in the record. All analyses rank April 1998 as the warmest April in the satellite record.
  • According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during April was 890,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average. This was the smallest April Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 50-year period of record, dropping below the previous record set in 1968 by 30,000 square miles. The North American snow cover extent was the 11th smallest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the fifth smallest.
  • Note: The Northern and Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent product has been temporarily suspended by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) due to a satellite sensor failure. As such, we are not reporting on the Arctic or Antarctic sea ice extent information at this time. More information is available from the NSIDC.

Global highlights: Year-to-date (January–April 2016)

  • The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 2.05°F above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.54°F.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.67°F above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record of 2015 by 1.06°F.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.46°F above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–April in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous records of 2010 and 2015 by 0.34°F and surpassing January–April 1998, the last time a similar strength El Niño occurred, by 0.47°F.
  • The January–April temperature for the lower troposphere was the highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 1.40°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using version 5.6. It was also highest on record, at 1.26°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS).
  • The January–April temperature for the mid-troposphere was the highest for January–April in the 1979–2016 record, at 1.13°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was also highest on record, at 1.10°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 1.39°F and 1.31°F, respectively, both highest in the record.
  • * Please note: the UAH and RSS referenced in this report are versions that have completed a research-to-operations (R2O) transition involving scientific, technical and administrative processes designed to ensure operational reliability. Both groups have new versions of their products at some stage of the R2O process and will be incorporated in this report when the R2O process is complete.

    For extended analysis of global temperature and precipitation patterns, please see our full April report