Global Analysis - February 2016


Maps and Time Series

Temperature and Precipitation Maps

Temperature Anomalies Time Series



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.v4) anomaly analysis as described in Huang et al. (2016). 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 map on the right provides 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 can 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 February 2016 height and anomaly mapFebruary 2016 and December 2015 - February 2016 height and anomaly mapDecember 2015–February 2016 maps—is generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively.

February

The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for February 2016 was the highest for February in the 137-year period of record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.9°F). This not only was the highest for February in the 1880–2016 record—surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.33°C / 0.59°F—but it surpassed the all-time monthly record set just two months ago in December 2015 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). Overall, the six highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred in the past six months. February 2016 also marks the 10th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken.

The average global temperature across land surfaces was 2.31°C (4.16°F) above the 20th century average of 3.2°C (37.8°F), the highest February temperature on record, surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and 2015 by 0.63°C (1.13°F) and surpassing the all-time single-month record set in March 2008 by 0.43°C (0.77°F).

Most of Earth's land surfaces were warmer than average or much warmer than average, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above, with record warmth notable across various areas of South America, much of southern Africa, southern and eastern Europe, around the Urals of Russia, and most of Southeast Asia stretching to northern Australia. Of significance, a vast region stretching from central Russia into eastern Europe, along with most of Alaska, observed February temperatures more than 5°C (9°F) above the 1981–2010 average, beyond the upper bounds of the Land & Ocean Temperature Departure from Average map shown above. A few pockets in Asia were cooler than average, including part of Far East Russia, with one area record cold in the upper Kamchatka Peninsula.

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):

  • Australia observed its ninth warmest February since national records began in 1910, with a mean temperature 0.92°C (1.66°F) above the 1961–1990 average. The average maximum temperature for the country was eighth highest, at 1.43°C (2.57°F) above average.
  • New Zealand observed its second warmest February and second warmest month of any month since national records began in 1909, at 2.2°C (4.0°F) above the 1981–2010 average and behind February 1998 by only 0.1°C (0.2°F).
  • Strong west and southwest winds contributed to an average February temperature in Germany that was 3.0°C (5.4°F) above the 1961–1990 average.
  • February was the second warmest for Austria, behind 1966, since national records commenced in 1767, with a monthly temperature 4.1°C (7.4°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average. On February 22nd the temperature reached 23.2°C (73.7°F) in Pottschach in Lower Austria, tying the record for the warmest February day recorded in the country.
  • February was mild in Sweden, where monthly temperatures were generally 2–4°C (4–7°F) higher than the 1961–1990 average. In northeastern Norrland, Febraury temperatures were as high as 6°C (11°F) above average. However, 2014 and 2015 were both milder than February 2016.
  • In Canada, both minimum and maximum temperature records were set during a "roller coaster" month, according to the Ontario Weather Review. Early in the month, on February 3rd, the temperature in Toronto reached 16°C (60.8°F), the highest February temperature ever recorded for the city. A little over a week later, during February 13th–14th, cold air shot down from the north, breaking minimum temperature records across southern and part of northeastern Ontario. The temperature drop over that 10-day period was extreme. Among the most extreme, the town of Beatrice, to the east of Georgian Bay, went from a high temperature of 8°C (46°F) to a minimum of -41°C (-42°F), a difference of 49°C (88°F).
  • In the United States, Alaska reported its warmest February in its 92-year period of record, at 6.9°C (12.4°F) higher than the 20th century average. The contiguous U.S. was seventh warmest in its 122-year period of record, at 3.18°C (5.72°F) above average, with the west and extreme northeast observing the highest departures from average.
  • The average February temperature was about 3.0°C (5°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average in Venezuela and northern Colombia, while temperatures were about 0.5°C (0.9°F) below average in southern Argentina.
  • February was not mild everywhere. All official reporting stations across Iceland observed below-average temperatures for the month. The capital city of Reykjavik had a February temperature that was 0.9°C (1.6°F) colder than its 1961–1990 average and 1.9°C (3.4°F) colder than the average over the past 10 years, marking its coldest February since 2002.

For the oceans, the February globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 0.81°C (1.46°F) above the 20th century average of 15.9°C (60.6°F). This was the highest for February on record, surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and 2015 by 0.36°C (0.20°F), and was the sixth highest departure from average among all 1,632 months in the record. The nine highest monthly global ocean temperature departures have all occurred in the past nine months (since July 2015).

Strong El Niño conditions were still present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during February 2016, as evidenced by continued record warmth across much of this region, but temperatures were beginning to decrease from their highs near the end of 2015. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with close to a 50 percent chance for La Niña conditions to develop by the fall. This forecast focuses on the ocean surface temperatures between 5°N and 5°S latitude and 170°W to 120°W longitude, called the Niño 3.4 region.

In other major ocean basins, the eastern Indian Ocean, small regions of the western North Atlantic, parts of the western Pacific Ocean, particularly around southeast Asia and northern Australia, were record warm. Areas with cooler or much cooler than average temperatures included parts of the north central and western Pacific, the North Atlantic to the south of Greenland, and parts of the Southern Ocean.

February Anomaly Rank
(out of 137 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +2.31 ± 0.11 +4.16 ± 0.20 Warmest 1st 2016 +2.31 +4.16
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.68 -3.02
Ocean +0.81 ± 0.14 +1.46 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.81 +1.46
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.51 -0.92
Land and Ocean +1.21 ± 0.14 +2.18 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.21 +2.18
Coolest 137th 1893, 1905 -0.62 -1.12
Northern Hemisphere
Land +2.66 ± 0.12 +4.79 ± 0.22 Warmest 1st 2016 +2.66 +4.79
Coolest 137th 1893 -2.00 -3.60
Ocean +0.87 ± 0.14 +1.57 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.48 -0.86
Land and Ocean +1.55 ± 0.13 +2.79 ± 0.23 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.55 +2.79
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.00 -1.80
Southern Hemisphere
Land +1.42 ± 0.16 +2.56 ± 0.29 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.42 +2.56
Coolest 137th 1904 -1.01 -1.82
Ocean +0.77 ± 0.14 +1.39 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.77 +1.39
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.53 -0.95
Land and Ocean +0.87 ± 0.14 +1.57 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.54 -0.97

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

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Seasonal (December–February)

The December–February seasonal global temperature was 1.13°C (2.03°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F). This was the highest for December–February in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.29°C (0.52°F). December 2015–February 2016 also marks the highest 3-month departure from average for any 3-month period on record, surpassing the previous record set last month, November 2015–January 2016, by 0.09°C (0.16°F).

The globally-averaged temperature across land surfaces was also the highest on record for December–February, at 1.93°C (3.47°F) above the 20th century average of 3.2°C (37.8°F). This surpasses the previous record set last year by 0.46°C (0.83°F) and marks the highest 3-month departure from average for any 3-month period on record, surpassing the previous record of November 2015–January 2016 by 0.40°C (0.70°F).

Much of Central America and northern South America, southern Africa, southern Europe, north-central Siberia, and parts of south and southeast Asia were record warm, as shown by the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above. A total of 115 individual GHCN stations from 38 countries across all inhabited continents and several island nations set new February high temperature records. Conversely, some regions in central Africa were cooler than average. No land areas observed much cooler or record cold temperatures for the December–February period.

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):

  • Austral summer 2015/16 was the ninth warmest for Australia in its 107-year period of record, at 0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 1961–1990 average. Tasmania had its warmest summer on record and Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia each saw summers among their seven warmest on record.
  • With its near-record warm February, summer as a whole was warmer than average in New Zealand, particularly on the North Island. Overall, the country was 0.9°C (1.6°C) higher than the 1981–2010 average.
  • With a record warm December and mild February, the average winter temperature in Germany was 3.4°C (6.1°F) higher than the 1961–1990 average, marking the country's fourth warmest winter since national records began in 1881.
  • With the contribution of a record warm December, France observed its warmest winter since national records began in 1900, with a temperature 2.6°C (4.7°F) higher than the 1981–2010 average. This easily surpasses the previous record of winter 1989/90 by 0.6°C (1.1°F).
  • Winter 2015/16 tied with 2013/14 as the second warmest on record for Austria, behind only the winter of 2006/07, at 2.7°C (4.9°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Five of the ten warmest winters have occurred in the past 10 years.
  • Even with a rather cool January, a warm December and February made winter the 10th warmest on record for Denmark.
  • With a record warm December and seventh warmest February, the contiguous United States observed its warmest December–February on record, at 2.6°C (4.6°F) higher than the 20th century average. The six states in the far northeastern part of the country were all record warm for the period. With its warmest February on record, Alaska observed its second warmest winter on record, at 5.9°C (10.6°F) above average.

Across the world's oceans, the December–February average sea surface temperature was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.5°F), the highest for December–February on record, surpassing the previous record set in 2009/10 by 0.22°C (0.40°F). Record warmth was observed across large swaths of the tropical Pacific, various regions of the North and South Atlantic, much of the Indian Ocean, and the Barents Sea in the Arctic. Much cooler-than-average temperatures were observed in a stretch of the North Atlantic south of Greenland, part of the northwestern Pacific, and some regions of the Southern Ocean.

December–February Anomaly Rank
(out of 137 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.93 ± 0.17 +3.47 ± 0.31 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.93 +3.47
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.55 -2.79
Ocean +0.84 ± 0.15 +1.51 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.84 +1.51
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.48 -0.86
Land and Ocean +1.13 ± 0.16 +2.03 ± 0.29 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.13 +2.03
Coolest 137th 1893 -0.59 -1.06
Northern Hemisphere
Land +2.14 ± 0.20 +3.85 ± 0.36 Warmest 1st 2016 +2.14 +3.85
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.88 -3.38
Ocean +0.93 ± 0.15 +1.67 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.93 +1.67
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.45 -0.81
Land and Ocean +1.39 ± 0.17 +2.50 ± 0.31 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.39 +2.50
Coolest 137th 1893 -0.99 -1.78
Southern Hemisphere
Land +1.37 ± 0.14 +2.47 ± 0.25 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.37 +2.47
Coolest 137th 1904 -0.91 -1.64
Ocean +0.77 ± 0.16 +1.39 ± 0.29 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.77 +1.39
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.49 -0.88
Land and Ocean +0.87 ± 0.15 +1.57 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.51 -0.92

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

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Year-to-date (January–February)

The first two months of 2016 were the warmest such period on record across the world's land and ocean surfaces, at 1.13°C (2.03°F) above the 20th century average of 12.1°C (53.8°F), surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.29°C (0.52°F).

The average global sea surface temperature for the year-to-date was the highest for January–February in the 137-year period of record, at 0.83°C (1.49°F) above average, surpassing the previous record set in 2010 by 0.22°C (0.40°F). The average land surface temperature was also record high, at 1.95°C (3.51°F) above average, surpassing the previous record of 2002 by 0.41°C (0.74°F).

January–February Anomaly Rank
(out of 137 years)
Records
°C °F Year(s) °C °F
Global
Land +1.95 ± 0.19 +3.51 ± 0.34 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.95 +3.51
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.86 -3.35
Ocean +0.83 ± 0.15 +1.49 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.83 +1.49
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.47 -0.85
Land and Ocean +1.13 ± 0.16 +2.03 ± 0.29 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.13 +2.03
Coolest 137th 1893 -0.65 -1.17
Northern Hemisphere
Land +2.18 ± 0.25 +3.92 ± 0.45 Warmest 1st 2016 +2.18 +3.92
Coolest 137th 1893 -2.29 -4.12
Ocean +0.91 ± 0.15 +1.64 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.91 +1.64
Coolest 137th 1894 -0.46 -0.83
Land and Ocean +1.39 ± 0.18 +2.50 ± 0.32 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.39 +2.50
Coolest 137th 1893 -1.14 -2.05
Southern Hemisphere
Land +1.36 ± 0.15 +2.45 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +1.36 +2.45
Coolest 137th 1904 -0.96 -1.73
Ocean +0.78 ± 0.15 +1.40 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.78 +1.40
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.49 -0.88
Land and Ocean +0.87 ± 0.15 +1.57 ± 0.27 Warmest 1st 2016 +0.87 +1.57
Coolest 137th 1911 -0.51 -0.92

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

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Precipitation

February

The maps below represent precipitation percent of normal (left, using a base period of 1961–1990) and precipitation percentiles (right, using the period of record) based on the GHCN dataset of land surface stations. As is typical, precipitation anomalies during February 2016 varied significantly around the world. February precipitation generally was drier than normal across southern North America into northern Southern America, eastern Brazil, various coastal regions around Africa, Mongolia, parts of southern and southeastern Asia, and some coastal regions of Australia, and wetter than normal across much of the eastern United States, much of Europe, Japan, and southern South America.

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):

  • Sweden was not only mild, but also wet during February. northern Norrland, which had the highest monthly departures from average among all regions of the country, also received three times its average precipitation amounts for February.

Seasonal (December–February)

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 December–February 2016 varied significantly around the world.

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References

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for February 2016, published online March 2016, retrieved on June 30, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/201602.