Global Analysis - October 2008


Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the second warmest on record for October and ninth warmest on record for the January-October year-to-date period.
  • October 2008 temperatures were above average in Australia, Asia, western U.S., eastern Europe, northern Canada, eastern Brazil, and the southern countries of South America. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average conditions were present across the United Kingdom, Iceland, eastern and southern Alaska, southern and eastern continental U.S., and parts of western Europe.
  • Precipitation during October 2008 was variable in many areas. In general, precipitation was above average in Sri Lanka, southern India, central continental U.S., south-central and southeastern Russia, and across parts of the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across the Hawaiian Islands, Argentina, southern Chile, eastern Brazil, northwestern and eastern contiguous U.S., southeastern Australia, and across parts of Europe and southeastern Asia.
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions remained in a neutral phase during October.

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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.

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Introduction

Temperature anomalies for October 2008 are shown on the dot maps below. The dot map, below left, provides a spatial representation of anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) data set of land surface stations using a 1961-1990 base period. The dot map, below right, is a product of a merged land surface and sea surface temperature anomaly analysis developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). Temperature anomalies with respect to the 1961-1990 mean for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. Additional information on this product is available.

During October, anomalous warm conditions were present over much of the world's land surface, especially across Asia, Australia, eastern Europe, eastern Brazil, and northern Canada, where temperatures were 2°-5°C (4°-9°F) above the 1961-1990 mean. Above average temperatures were also observed across the western contiguous U.S., northern and southern parts of Africa, and the southern countries of South America. These warm conditions brought the October 2008 global land surface anomalies to be the warmest since records began in 1880. Elsewhere, cooler-than-average conditions were present across the United Kingdom, Iceland, eastern and southern Alaska, southern and eastern continental U.S., and parts of western Europe.

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during October 2008 were warmer than average in the Atlantic, Indian, northwestern Pacific and eastern equatorial Pacific oceans. Cooler-than-average SSTs were present in parts of the southern oceans and in the central equatorial and northeastern Pacific Ocean. SST anomalies decreased in all Niño regions during October 2008, with the exception of the Niño 4 region, where SST anomalies slightly increased. Please see the October 2008 ENSO discussion for additional information.

Anomalously warm temperatures covered much of the world's land surface during January-October 2008. The year-to-date map shows the presence of warmer-than-average temperatures across all land areas, with the exception of parts of the northern continental U.S. and Colombia. Warmer-than-average SST conditions were present in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, eastern equatorial Pacific and parts of the northwest Pacific oceans. Cooler-than-average conditions were observed in the central equatorial Pacific, parts of the northeastern Pacific and some areas in the southern oceans.

The mean position of the upper-level ridges of high pressure and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500-millibar height anomalies on the October map, respectively) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. For other Global products, please see the Climate Monitoring Global Products page.

Images of sea surface temperature conditions are available for all weeks during 2008 at the weekly SST page.

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Temperature Rankings and Graphics

Current Month / Year-to-date

Effective with the February 2006 report, NCDC transitioned from the use of the Operational Global Surface Temperature Index (Quayle et al. 1999) to the blended land and ocean dataset developed by Smith and Reynolds (2005). The differences between the two methods are discussed in Smith et al. (2005). The ranks found in the tables below are based on records that began in 1880.

October 2008 ranked as the second warmest October since records began in 1880 for combined global land and ocean surface temperatures, behind 2003. Temperatures were warmer than average across Asia, Australia, Europe, and northern Canada, prompting the October 2008 global land surface anomalies to be the warmest on record. The global average ocean surface temperature (SST) in October was the sixth warmest on record.

October Anomaly Rank
(out of 129 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+1.12°C (+2.02°F)
+0.45°C (+0.81°F)
+0.63°C (+1.13°F)

warmest
6th warmest
2nd warmest

2005 (+1.08°C/1.94°F)
2003 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
2003 (+0.69°C/1.24°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+1.14°C (+2.05°F)
+0.53°C (+0.95°F)
+0.76°C (+1.37°F)


3rd warmest
5th warmest
3rd warmest


2003 (+1.23°C/2.21°F)
2006 (+0.65°C/1.17°F)
2003 (+0.86°C/1.55°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+1.06°C (+1.91°F)
+0.39°C (+0.70°F)
+0.49°C (+0.88°F)


2nd warmest
5th warmest
4th warmest


2002 (+1.17°C/2.11°F)
1997 (+0.56°C/1.01°F)
1997 (+0.59°C/1.06°F)

January-October Anomaly Rank
(out of 129 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.75°C (+1.35°F)
+0.37°C (+0.67°F)
+0.47°C (+0.85°F)

6th warmest
10th warmest
9th warmest

2007 (+1.02°C/1.84°F)
1998 (+0.51°C/0.92°F)
2005 (+0.61°C/1.10°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.83°C (+1.49°F)
+0.40°C (+0.72°F)
+0.56°C (+1.01°F)


5th warmest
8th warmest
8th warmest


2007 (+1.17°C/2.11°F)
2005 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
2007 (+0.71°C/1.28°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.50°C (+0.90°F)
+0.34°C (+0.61°F)
+0.37°C (+0.67°F)


8th warmest
12th warmest
10th warmest


2005 (+0.85°C/1.53°F)
1998 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
1998 (+0.56°C/1.01°F)

The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.

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Precipitation

The maps below represent anomaly values based on the GHCN data set of land surface stations using a base period of 1961-1990. Precipitation during October 2008 was above average over areas that include Sri Lanka, central continental U.S., southern India, south-central and southeastern Russia, and across parts of the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across the Hawaiian Islands, Argentina, southern Chile, eastern Brazil, northwestern and eastern U.S., southeastern Australia, and across parts of Europe and southeastern Asia.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), precipitation across Australia was 41 percent below normal during October, resulting in the twenty-fifth driest October on record. Exceptionally dry conditions were present across central and southeastern Australia. This resulted in South Australia having its driest October on record, Tasmania it's second driest, and Victoria its third driest October.

During October 2008, heavy rain produced by the Atlantic's sixteenth tropical depression resulted in widespread floods and landslides across parts of Central America. Storm-related fatalities were reported across the region. Northern Vietnam, was affected by heavy rain that triggered devastating floods. Fifty-four lives were claimed and over 100,000 homes were inundated. Tropical Cyclone Rashmi made landfall in the south-central coast of Bangladesh on October 27, dumping heavy rains that damaged thousands of homes and acres of crops.

Additional details on flooding and drought can also be found on the October Global Hazards page.

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ENSO SST Analysis

During October 2008, sea surface temperatures (SST) were slightly below average across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, while slightly above average temperatures remained in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean. These conditions (shown in the adjacent animation of weekly sea surface temperature anomalies) are indicative of a neutral ENSO phase. A comprehensive summary of October 2008 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 weeks since 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.

Quayle, R.G., T.C. Peterson, A.N. Basist, and C. S. Godfrey, 1999: An operational near-real-time global temperature index. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 333-335.

Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds (2005), A global merged land air and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880-1997), J. Clim., 18, 2021-2036.

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for October 2008, published online November 2008, retrieved on October 30, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2008/10.