Global Analysis - March 2014


Maps and Time Series

Temperature and Precipitation Maps
Temperature Anomalies Time Series

Contents of this Section:


Global Highlights

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was the fourth highest for March on record, at 0.71°C (1.28°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.33°C (2.39°F) above the 20th century average of 5.0°C (40.8°F), the fifth highest for March on record. For the ocean, the March global sea surface temperature was 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 20th century average of 15.9°C (60.7°F), tying with 2004 as the fifth highest for March on record.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–March period (year-to-date) was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F), the seventh warmest such period on record.

Introduction

Temperature anomalies and percentiles are shown on the gridded maps below. The anomaly map on the left is a product of a merged land surface temperature (Global Historical Climatology Network, GHCN) and sea surface temperature (ERSST.v3b) anomaly analysis developed by Smith et al. (2008). Temperature anomalies for land and ocean are analyzed separately and then merged to form the global analysis. For more information, please visit NCDC's Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. The percentile maps on the right provide additional information by placing the temperature anomaly observed for a specific place and time period into historical perspective, showing how the most current month, season or year compares with the past.

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

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Temperatures

In the atmosphere, 500-millibar height pressure anomalies correlate well with temperatures at the Earth's surface. The average 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 March 2014 height and anomaly mapMarch 2014 and January - March 2014 height and anomaly mapJanuary–March 2014 maps—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

March

The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces during March was 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average. This marks the fourth highest for March since records began in 1880 and the highest since 2010, the last March that warm-phase El Niño conditions were present. This is also 0.30°C (0.53°F) higher than the previous month. The difference is primarily due to warmer temperature anomalies over land surfaces, which were 1.33°C (2.39°F) above the global average. Central Asia was particularly warm for March, with departures from average surpassing +5°C (+9°F) in parts of northern Siberia. Most of this region was anomalously cold in February, with departures greater than -5°C (-9°F) across a large swath of central Asia. Extreme warmth over Eurasia more than offset the colder-than-average temperatures over most of North America this month, with the Northern Hemisphere observing its fourth highest land surface temperature on record, at 1.59°C (2.86°F) above the 20th century average. In the Southern Hemisphere, most of northern South America was much warmer than average, while part of northern Argentina was much cooler than average for March.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

  • The monthly temperature in Austria tied with 1989 as the second highest for March since conituous national records began in 1767, at 2.8°C (5.0°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Only March 1994 was warmer. The warmest region of Austria this month was Southern Burgenland, which had monthly temperatures 3.6–4.0°C (6.5–7.2°F) above average.
  • The average temperature for March in Norway was 3.8°C (6.8°F) above the 1981–2010 average. This marks the third warmest March since national records began in 1900. Some regions in the east were 5–7°C (9–13°F) higher than their monthly averages.
  • Denmark had its fourth warmest March since national records began in 1874, at 3.7°C (6.7°F) above the 1961–1990 average. The monthly minimum temperature was the fifth highest on record and the number of frost days was sixth lowest, with 4.0 days compared with the average of 15.
  • The March temperature in Germany was 2.6°C (4.7°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average, tying with 2012 as the third warmest March since records began in 1881. On March 9th, the temperature reached 22.4°C (72.3°F) in Münster, breaking the previous daily record by more than 3°C (5°F); the previous record was 19.1°C (66.4°F).
  • Latvia reported its third warmest March on record and second warmest in the 21st century, behind 2007, at 4.7°C (8.5°F) above average.
  • Slovakia observed its warmest March since records began in 1871. For the first time since records began, the average March temperature exceeded 10°C (50°F), at 10.2°C (50.4°F).
  • South Korea observed its second highest average March temperature since national records began in 1971, at 1.8°C (3.2°F) above the 1981–2010 average. The average maximum temperature was third highest, while the average minimum temperature was record high for March. With local records dating back to 1908, the capital city of Seoul reported both a record high average and maximum March temperature, with the March minimum temperature fourth highest.
  • According to the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development, March temperatures were more than 2°C (3.6°F) higher than average across northeast Egypt and the border between Egypt and Sudan. Temperatures were about 2°C below average over parts of Mauritania and Mali, central Namibia, Mozambique, and Madagascar.
  • Most of Canada was colder than average during March. Temperatures in Ontario were 3.0–6.5°C (5.4–11.7°F) below average, with many cities seeing record or near-record cold monthly temperatures. Several of the records broken date back to the 1960s.

For the oceans, the globally-averaged sea surface temperature was the fifth highest on record for March, at 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 20th century average. Each of the major oceans had large regions that were much warmer than average, and record warmth was observed in parts of the northeastern and equatorial Pacific, the eastern North and South Atlantic, and central Indian Oceans. While no areas were record cold, part of the central north Atlantic and the Southern Ocean off the tip of South America was much cooler than average during March. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a continuation of ENSO-neutral conditions is favored through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with the chances of El Niño increasing throughout the remainder of the year—more than 50 percent chance by summer. ENSO-neutral conditions have been present since spring 2012.

March Anomaly Rank
(out of 135 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.33 ± 0.22 +2.39 ± 0.40 Warmest 5th 2008 +1.90 +3.42
Coolest 131st 1898 -1.64 -2.95
Ocean +0.48 ± 0.04 +0.86 ± 0.07 Warmest 5th 1998, 2010 +0.56 +1.01
Coolest 131st 1911 -0.53 -0.95
Ties: 2004
Land and Ocean +0.71 ± 0.09 +1.28 ± 0.16 Warmest 4th 2002, 2010 +0.79 +1.42
Coolest 132nd 1898 -0.66 -1.19
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.59 ± 0.34 +2.86 ± 0.61 Warmest 4th 2008 +2.37 +4.27
Coolest 132nd 1898 -2.04 -3.67
Ocean +0.45 ± 0.06 +0.81 ± 0.11 Warmest 5th 2010 +0.53 +0.95
Coolest 131st 1908 -0.51 -0.92
Land and Ocean +0.88 ± 0.16 +1.58 ± 0.29 Warmest 5th 2008 +1.09 +1.96
Coolest 131st 1898 -0.89 -1.60
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.66 ± 0.17 +1.19 ± 0.31 Warmest 17th 2010 +1.17 +2.11
Coolest 119th 1904 -0.93 -1.67
Ocean +0.51 ± 0.04 +0.92 ± 0.07 Warmest 5th 1998 +0.61 +1.10
Coolest 131st 1911 -0.57 -1.03
Land and Ocean +0.53 ± 0.08 +0.95 ± 0.14 Warmest 6th 1998, 2010 +0.68 +1.22
Coolest 130th 1911 -0.59 -1.06
Ties: 2004

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

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Year-to-date (January–March)

The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces for the first quarter (January–March) of 2014 was the seventh warmest such period on record. This is particularly notable since February ranked only as the 21st warmest on record. However, January and March were both among the five warmest for their respective months. The warmth was relatively evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with each also observing their seventh warmest January–March on record.

The globally-averaged land surface temperature for January–March tied with 2005 as the 11th warmest in the 135-year period of record, while the globally-averaged sea surface temperature tied with 2002 as the fifth warmest on record. Both the land and ocean departures from average were spread fairly evenly between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Several sections of the oceans were record warm during the first three months of the year, including parts of the northeastern and equatorial Pacific Ocean, areas of the eastern North and South Atlantic Oceans, part of the Berents Sea off coastal northern Europe, waters off the southern tip of Africa, and a small region in the central Indian Ocean. Part of the central North Atlantic Ocean and the Southern Ocean off the tip of South America were much cooler than average for the period. Over land, a large swath of the central United States into southern Canada was also much cooler than average, with some areas around the Great Lakes region record cold. This is the second consecutive year a cooler-than-average temperature pattern has been observed during January–March 2013 across much of the United States and Canada.

January–March Anomaly Rank
(out of 135 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +0.95 ± 0.26 +1.71 ± 0.47 Warmest 11th 2002 +1.53 +2.75
Coolest 125th 1893 -1.26 -2.27
Ties: 2005
Ocean +0.47 ± 0.04 +0.85 ± 0.07 Warmest 5th 1998, 2010 +0.56 +1.01
Coolest 131st 1911 -0.51 -0.92
Ties: 2002
Land and Ocean +0.60 ± 0.10 +1.08 ± 0.18 Warmest 7th 2002 +0.76 +1.37
Coolest 129th 1911 -0.56 -1.01
Northern Hemisphere
Land +1.02 ± 0.32 +1.84 ± 0.58 Warmest 13th 2002 +1.92 +3.46
Coolest 123rd 1893 -1.56 -2.81
Ocean +0.47 ± 0.07 +0.85 ± 0.13 Warmest 5th 2010 +0.54 +0.97
Coolest 131st 1904 -0.48 -0.86
Land and Ocean +0.68 ± 0.16 +1.22 ± 0.29 Warmest 7th 2002 +0.99 +1.78
Coolest 129th 1893 -0.84 -1.51
Southern Hemisphere
Land +0.78 ± 0.15 +1.40 ± 0.27 Warmest 8th 2010 +1.09 +1.96
Coolest 128th 1904 -0.94 -1.69
Ocean +0.47 ± 0.05 +0.85 ± 0.09 Warmest 6th 1998 +0.60 +1.08
Coolest 130th 1911 -0.54 -0.97
Ties: 2005
Land and Ocean +0.52 ± 0.07 +0.94 ± 0.13 Warmest 7th 1998, 2010 +0.66 +1.19
Coolest 129th 1911 -0.55 -0.99
Ties: 2007

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

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Precipitation

March

The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left) and precipitation percentiles (right) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations using a base period of 1961–1990. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during March 2014 varied significantly around the world. As indicated by the March precipitation percentiles map below, most of Niger, southwestern Morocco, part of northwestern China, and north central Australia experienced extreme dryness. Conversely, the northwestern United States, parts of central Russia, central India, regions of eastern Europe, and scattered areas of South America and west central Africa experienced extreme wetness.

Select national information is highlighted below. (Please note that different countries report anomalies with respect to different base periods. The information provided here is based directly upon these data):

  • The warmth in Norway was accompanied by wet conditions. The country observed its seventh wettest March in its 115-year period of record, with rainfall 160 percent of the monthly average. Some locations in Nordland and Troms received 2.5 to 3.5 times their typical March precipitation.
  • The warmth in Germany on the other hand, was accompanied by dry conditions. The country had its fifth driest March since records began in 1881, with 18.6 mm, 30 percent of the normal March rainfall.
  • Following a dry winter (December–February), March was also dry in Austria, with precipitation 50–90 percent of the 1981–2010 average across the country. For the period October 2013–March 2014, Austria received 56 percent of average precipitation, marking the driest such period since 1953 and fifth driest since 1820.
  • Many regions on New Zealand's North Island recorded their third driest March on record, as a large part of the region received less than 50 percent of their average March rainfall. Conversely, Christchurch on the South Island had its wettest March on record.

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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.

Smith et al., 2008, Improvements to NOAA's Historical Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880-2006), J. Climate., 21, 2283-2293.

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2014, published online April 2014, retrieved on September 19, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/03/.