Global Analysis - February 2009


Global Highlights:

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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 December 2008 - February 2009 and February 2009 are shown on the dot maps below. The dot maps, below left, provide 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 February 2009, warmer-than-average temperatures were present across Mexico, northwestern Africa, southern Australia, eastern Europe, western Russia, southern Asia, eastern Brazil, western Alaska, eastern Canada, most of the continental U.S., and southern South America. In contrast, cooler-than-average temperatures occurred throughout Alaska's panhandle, northern Alaska, most of Russia, and parts of western Europe, and the Fenno-Scandinavia region.

Sea surface temperatures (SST) during February 2009 were warmer than average across most of the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific oceans. SST anomalies in all Niño regions remained below average during February 2009, however some warming took place across the regions. Please see the February 2009 ENSO discussion for additional information.

Notable temperature extremes during February 2009 include southern Australia's record breaking heatwave. The region, which was affected by an earlier heatwave during the last week of January, was scorched by a second heatwave during the first week of February. The most intense heat occurred on February 7. Several locations set new temperature records, including an all-time state record for Victoria when temperatures reached 48.8°C (119.8°C) in Hopetoun, shattering the previous record of 47.2°C (117.0°F) set in January 1939. A complete summary of Australia's heatwave is available, courtesy of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM). The extreme heat was accompanied by very dry conditions that contributed to the development of deadly wildfires. The wildfires claimed 210 lives. Please visit NCDC's February 2009 Global Hazards page for more information.

Across the United States, northern Florida experienced unusually cold temperatures during February 4-7. The chilly temperatures affected citrus groves, causing minor fruit damage as temperatures plummeted to -2.2°C (28.0°F). Tallahassee, FL saw a new record low as temperatures fell to -10.0°C (14°F) on February 5, surpassing the previous record of -8.9°C (16°F) set in 1996.

Additional details on extreme temperatures can also be found on the February 2009 Global Hazards page.

During the boreal winter, temperatures were above average across most land areas, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions in Alaska's panhandle, southern Canada, the northern contiguous U.S., western Europe, northwestern Africa, southern and eastern Russia, and northern Australia.

According to a report by the Met Office (released 25 February 2009), the United Kingdom was expected to experience its coldest winter since the winter of 1995/1996. As of 23 February 2009, the UK's mean temperature for winter (1 December 2008 - 23 February 2009) was 2.9°C (37.2°F). The average winter temperatures for the United Kingdom is 3.7°C (38.7°F), based on the 1971-2000 mean. The report is available, courtesy of the Met Office.

Anomalously warm temperatures covered much of the global land during the first two months of the year. January-February 2009 warmer-than-average temperatures occurred in most land areas of the world, with the exception of cooler-than-average conditions across parts of western Alaska, northwestern South America, the north-central continental U.S., southeastern Canada, northern Australia, northwestern Africa, western Europe, and central and eastern Russia. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were warmer than average across the Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific oceans. Cooler-than-average SSTs were present across the central equatorial Pacific Ocean, along the western coast of North America, along the western coast of northwestern Africa, and most of 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 December 2008 - February 2009 map and the February 2009 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 2009 at the weekly SST page.

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Temperature Rankings and Graphics

Current Month / Seasonal / 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 was the ninth warmest on record in February and the eighth warmest on record for boreal winter (December-February) and the January-February year-to-date period.

February Anomaly Rank
(out of 130 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.88°C (+1.58°F)
+0.36°C (+0.65°F)
+0.50°C (+0.90°F)

12thwarmest
8th warmest
9th warmest

2002 (+1.67°C/3.01°F)
1998 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
1998 (+0.83°C/1.49°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.97°C (+1.75°F)
+0.31°C (+0.56°F)
+0.56°C (+1.01°F)


13th warmest
7th warmest
10th warmest


2002 (+2.16°C/3.89°F)
1998 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)
2002 (+1.05°C/1.89°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.58°C (+1.04°F)
+0.42°C (+0.76°F)
+0.44°C (+0.79°F)


8th warmest
10th warmest
8th warmest


1983 (+0.94°C/1.69°F)
1998 (+0.57°C/1.03°F)
1998 (+0.61°C/1.10°F)

December-
February
Anomaly Rank
(out of 130 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.84°C (+1.51°F)
+0.39°C (+0.70°F)
+0.51°C (+0.92°F)

9th warmest
7th warmest
8th warmest

2007 (+1.41°C/2.54°F)
1998 (+0.55°C/0.99°F)
2007 (+0.73°C/1.31°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.93°C (+1.67°F)
+0.34°C (+0.61°F)
+0.56°C (+1.01°F)


9th warmest
8th warmest
8th warmest


2007 (+1.65°C/2.97°F)
1998 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
2007 (+0.94°C/1.69°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.55°C (+0.99°F)
+0.44°C (+0.79°F)
+0.46°C (+0.83°F)


8th warmest
8th warmest
6th warmest


1998 (+0.81°C/1.46°F)
1998 (+0.57°C/1.03°F)
1998 (+0.61°C/1.10°F)

January-
February
Anomaly Rank
(out of 130 years)
Warmest (or Next
Warmest) Year on Record

Global

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean

+0.93°C (+1.67°F)
+0.38°C (+0.68°F)
+0.52°C (+0.94°F)

8th warmest
7th warmest
8th warmest

2002 (+1.56°C/2.81°F)
1998 (+0.54°C/0.97°F)
2007 (+0.73°C/1.31°F)

Northern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+1.05°C (+1.89°F)
+0.32°C (+0.58°F)
+0.60°C (+1.08°F)


8th warmest
7th warmest
8th warmest


2002 (+2.01°C/3.62°F)
1998 (+0.52°C/0.94°F)
2002 (+0.99°C/1.78°F)

Southern Hemisphere

Land
Ocean
Land and Ocean


+0.52°C (+0.94°F)
+0.43°C (+0.77°F)
+0.44°C (+0.79°F)


10th warmest
10th warmest
10th warmest


2003 (+0.82°C/1.48°F)
1998 (+0.56°C/1.01°F)
1998 (+0.60°C/1.08°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. During boreal winter, above-average precipitation fell over areas that include the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, Malaysia, northeastern Australia, southeastern Africa, southern Europe, the midwestern continental U.S., and northern parts of South America. Drier-than-average conditions were observed in the southern Pacific islands, the southeastern and south-central contiguous U.S., Alaska's panhandle, northern Europe, southeastern Asia, and parts of southern South America.

During February 2008, above-average precipitation fell over areas that include the Philippines Islands, northeastern Australia, central and eastern Europe, southeastern Africa, north-central continental U.S. and across parts of northern South America. Drier-than-average conditions were observed across most of the eastern, south-central, and northwestern contiguous U.S., Alaska's panhandle, western Europe, southeastern Asia, and southern Australia.

Although much of Australia's southeastern region was experiencing exceptionally dry conditions and the northeast had wetter-than-normal conditions, precipitation across the nation was near normal (3 percent above normal) during February 2009 [Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM)]. However, Victoria and South Australia experienced their eighth and fourth driest February on record, respectively. Meanwhile, Queensland was drenched by heavy rains that caused devastating floods. During December 2008 - February 2009, Australia as a whole had 33 percent above-normal precipitation, resulting in their tenth wettest summer on record. Queensland had its sixth wettest summer on record with 49 percent above-normal precipitation, but northern Queensland had its wettest year-to-date (January-February) period since 1991. Victoria had its second driest January-February period (BoM).

Heavy rain across northern Argentina spawned flooding and a deadly mudslide that claimed two lives and damaged over 300 homes. Torrential downpours across western Colombia triggered floods, causing six fatalities and leaving 14 others missing.

Details on flooding and drought can also be found on the February 2009 Global Hazards page.

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ENSO SST Analysis

As shown in the adjacent animation, SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific remained below average during February 2009. However, all the Niño region anomalies showed a slight warming compared to January's anomalies. The Oceanic Niño Index [three-month (December-January-February) running mean] was -0.8°C (-1.4°F), which is below the threshold of -0.5°C (-0.9°F), indicating La Niña conditions. A comprehensive summary of February 2009 ENSO conditions can be found on the ENSO monitoring page. For the latest advisory on ENSO conditions go to NOAA's 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 February 2009, published online March 2009, retrieved on April 17, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2009/2.