Global Analysis - September 2008


Global Highlights:

  • Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the ninth warmest on record for September and for the January-September year-to-date period.
  • September 2008 temperatures were above average in Australia, India, Iceland, the Middle East region, northern Africa, western, north-central, and eastern continental U.S., most of Alaska, eastern Asia, and parts of South America. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average conditions were present across the south-central continental U.S., South Africa, Paraguay, most of Mexico, Europe, and parts of central Russia.
  • Precipitation during September 2008 was variable in many areas. In general, precipitation was above average in Iceland, the Caribbean, northeastern and parts of the central continental U.S., southeastern Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across the Hawaiian Islands, northern Europe, western Alaska, western and southeastern contiguous U.S., southern Australia, northern India, parts of eastern Asia, and most of South America.
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions remained in a neutral phase during September.

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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 September 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 September, above average temperatures were observed across Australia, India, Iceland, the Middle East region, northern Africa, western, north-central, and eastern continental U.S., most of Alaska, eastern Asia, and parts of South America. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average conditions were present across the south-central continental U.S., South Africa, Paraguay, most of Mexico, Europe, and parts of central Russia.

During the second and third week of September, Hungary saw a marked contrast in temperatures. The city of Szeged had a new maximum temperature record for September 7 when temperatures rose to 37.6°C (100°F), surpassing the previous record of 36.7°C (98°F) set in 1946. Meanwhile on September 15, a new national record was set when the city of Sopron, Hungary recorded its coldest temperature of 8.6°C (47°F), surpassing the previous record set in Zalaegerszeg in 1925 when temperatures fell to 10.5°C (51°F).

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) during September 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 slightly decreased in all Niño regions during September 2008. Please see the September 2008 ENSO discussion for additional information.

Anomalously warm temperatures covered much of the world's land surface for the first nine months of the year. The January-September 2008 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 eastern Australia. 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 September 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.

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2008 tied with 2001 as the ninth warmest since records began in 1880. The September global land surface temperature tied with 2004 as the eleventh warmest on record, while the global ocean surface temperature tied with 2001 as the seventh warmest in the 129-year record. The January-September year-to-date land and ocean temperature was the ninth warmest on record.

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

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.50°C (+0.90°F)
+0.42°C (+0.76°F)
+0.44°C (+0.79°F)

11th warmest
7th warmest
9th warmest

2005 (+1.05°C/1.89°F)
1997 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)
2005 (+0.64°C/1.15°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.49°C (+0.88°F)
+0.47°C (+0.85°F)
+0.48°C (+0.86°F)


12th warmest
6th warmest
9th warmest


2005 (+1.20°C/2.16°F)
2003 (+0.67°C/1.21°F)
2005 (+0.83°C/1.49°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.53°C (+0.95°F)
+0.38°C (+0.68°F)
+0.40°C (+0.72°F)


12th warmest
9th warmest
9th warmest


1997 (+1.18°C/2.12°F)
1997 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
1997 (+0.63°C/1.13°F)

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

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.70°C (+1.26°F)
+0.36°C (+0.65°F)
+0.45°C (+0.81°F)

8th warmest
10th warmest
9th warmest

2007 (+1.03°C/1.85°F)
1998 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
1998 (+0.63°C/1.13°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.78°C (+1.40°F)
+0.38°C (+0.68°F)
+0.53°C (+0.95°F)


8th warmest
8th warmest
9th warmest


2007 (+1.20°C/2.16°F)
2005 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
2007 (+0.73°C/1.31°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.44°C (+0.79°F)
+0.34°C (+0.61°F)
+0.35°C (+0.63°F)


10th warmest
13th warmest
13th warmest


2005 (+0.85°C/1.53°F)
1998 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)
1998 (+0.58°C/1.04°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 September 2008 was above average over areas that include Iceland, the Caribbean, northeastern and parts of the central continental U.S., southeastern Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across the Hawaiian Islands, northern Europe, western Alaska, western and southeastern contiguous U.S., southern Australia, northern India, parts of eastern Asia, and most of South America.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Melbourne experienced its driest September when just 12 mm (0.47 inch) of rain fell, surpassing the previous record of 13.4 mm (0.53 inch) set in 1907. The states of South Australia and Victoria had their eighth driest September on record, with Victoria having its driest September since 1971. Meanwhile, South Australia had its fifth driest year-to-date on record, but the driest since 1959. However, Australia as a whole received slightly above average precipitation. This was Australia's 33rd wettest September in the 109-year record.

During September 2008, Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna, and Ike, and Tropical Storm Kyle brought torrential rain across the Caribbean and parts of the continental U.S., triggering fatal floods and causing havoc across the affected areas. Preliminary damage estimates of $31.5 billion U.S. dollars rank Ike as the third most destructive U.S. land falling hurricane after Katrina (2005) and Andrew (1992). Meanwhile in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, three typhoons (Sinlaku, Hagupit, and Jangmi) brought heavy rain and strong winds to parts of Southeast Asia.

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

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ENSO SST Analysis

During September 2008, sea surface temperatures (SST) were slightly below average across the central equatorial Pacific Ocean, while slightly above average temperatures remained in the eastern 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 September 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 September 2008, published online October 2008, retrieved on November 1, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2008/9.