Global Analysis - December 2003


Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data for December 2003, global average combined land and sea surface temperature was second warmest on record
  • Temperatures were much above average across most of the U.S., Canada and Europe with below average temperatures across Argentina, the southeastern U.S., and the northern territories of Australia
  • Precipitation during December 2003 was above average across Scandinavia and the northeastern U.S., with drier than average conditions across Ireland, and southern India
  • Slightly warmer than normal SST's remained across the equatorial Pacific basin but do not indicate that the warm episode will transition into an El Niño event.
 

Contents of this Section:

This is a break in the document The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. This is a break in the document

Top of Page Introduction

The December 2003 mean temperature was above the 1988-2002 average across Europe, the mid western U.S. and southern Australia as shown in the adjacent map of blended satellite and in situ data. Cooler than average temperatures occurred over eastern Asia, Iran, central Mexico and the southeastern U.S. The mean position of upper level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500 millibar height anomalies) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. For all Global map products see the Climate Monitoring Products page.  temperature in December 2003
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Click Here for the Global Temperature Anomalies in December 2003
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December temperature anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network data set of land surface stations (using a 1961-1990 base period) also show above average temperatures across the majority of the U.S. and Canada, Russia, Brazil and the southern of Australia. Monthly temperatures were 2-5°C (3.6-9°F) above the mean in many of these areas. Cooler than average temperatures were present in Chile, the Aleutian Islands, southeastern U.S. and South Africa where monthly temperatures were as much as 2-4°C (3.6-7.2°F) below average.
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Top of Page Temperature

December
  • For December 2003, the global average land and ocean surface temperature was 0.55°C (1.00°F) above the 1880-2002 average, ranking as the second warmest December in the period of record
  • Globally averaged land temperatures were fifth warmest on record, 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the long-term mean
  • Globally averaged ocean surface temperatures were 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the 1880-2002 mean, third warmest on record for December 2003.
Click Here for the Global Temp Anomalies in December 2003
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  • December 2003 temperatures averaged across the Northern Hemisphere were warmest on record, 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the long term mean
  • Temperatures averaged throughout the Southern Hemisphere were seventh warmest, 0.41°C (0.74°F) above average
Click Here for the Global Temp Anomalies in December 2003
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January-December
  • For January-December 2003, the global average land and ocean surface temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the long term mean, second warmest
  • Globally averaged land temperatures were third warmest on record, 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the long-term mean
  • Globally averaged ocean surface temperatures were 0.44°C (0.80°F) above the 1880-2002 mean, second warmest for January-December 2003.

  • January-December 2003 temperatures averaged across the Northern Hemisphere were second warmest on record, 0.65°C (1.20°F) above the long term mean
  • Temperatures averaged throughout the Southern Hemisphere were third warmest, 0.46°C (0.83°F) above average
Click Here for the Global Temperature Timeseries
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  • For a complete historical review of Global conditions during 2003, please see the Annual report.

Click Here for the Global Temperature Timeseries
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  • Serial monthly global surface temperature departures with respect to a 1971-2000 mean are shown in the figure to the left
  • Globally averaged surface temperatures (land and ocean) have been warmer than the 1971-2000 average for the last 92 consecutive months
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Top of Page Precipitation

  • During December 2003, much above average precipitation fell across Indonesia, the western and northeastern U.S., Bolivia and Norway
  • Below average precipitation was observed in southeastern Asia, the Mississippi Valley of the U.S., Pakistan and the United Kingdom
  • Additional regional analysis can be found on the Global Hazards page
Click Here for the Global Precip Anomalies in December 2003
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Top of Page ENSO SST Analysis

Click Here for the last week of the month's ENSO condtions Map
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  • Although sea surface temperatures were slightly above average over much of the equatorial Pacific (as shown in the adjacent animation of weekly sea surface temperature anomalies), indices do not indicate a transition into an El Niño event. A comprehensive summary of December 2003 ENSO conditions can be found on the ENSO monitoring page. For the latest advisory on ENSO conditions go to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the CPC ENSO Diagnostic Discussion
  • Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all months to date during 2003 at the weekly sst page

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References:

Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for December 2003, published online January 2004, retrieved on April 16, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2003/12.