State of the Climate

The State of the Climate is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.

  • Global
  • Global Analysis — a summary of global temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Upper Air — tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures, with data placed into historical perspective
  • Global Snow & Ice — a global view of snow and ice, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Global Hazards — weather-related hazards and disasters around the world
  • El Niño/Southern Oscillation — atmospheric and oceanic conditions related to ENSO
  • National
  • National Overview — a summary of national and regional temperatures and precipitation, placing the data into a historical perspective
  • Drought — drought in the U.S.
  • Wildfires — a summary of wildland fires in the U.S. and related weather and climate conditions
  • Hurricanes & Tropical Storms — hurricanes and tropical storms that affect the U.S. and its territories
  • National Snow & Ice — snow and ice in the U.S.
  • Tornadoes — a summary of tornadic activity in the U.S.
  • Synoptic Discussion — a summary of synoptic activity in the U.S.

Global Summary Information - August 2014

August and June–August global temperatures each reach record highs, driven largely by record warm oceans

The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for August 2014 was the highest for August since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 38th consecutive August with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average global temperature for August occurred in 1976.

Global temperature highlights: August

  • The average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces combined for August 2014 was the record highest for the month, at 61.45°F (16.35°C) or 1.35°F (0.75°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.22°F (0.12°C). This temperature beats the previous record set in 1998 by 0.07°C (0.04°F). Including August, three of the past four months had record high global temperatures for their respective months; the exception was July 2014 which ranked fourth highest for the month.
  • August 2014 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles
    August 2014 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles
  • August marked the 38th consecutive August with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature for August occurred in 1976.
  • The global land temperature was the second highest for August on record, at 1.78°F (0.99°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error is ±0.43°F (0.24°C). Warmer than average temperatures were evident over most of the global land surface, except for parts of western Europe, northern Siberia, parts of eastern Asia and much of central Australia stretching north.
  • Some national highlights are included below:
    • Following a record warm July, Norway had an August temperature that was 1.8°F (1.0°C) higher than the 1961–1990 long-term average for the country.
    • The United Kingdom had its coolest August since 1993, with a temperature 1.8°F (1.0°C) below its 1981–2010 average. It also ended a streak of eight consecutive warmer-than-average months.
  • For the ocean, the August global sea surface temperature was 1.17°F (0.65°C) above the 20th century average. This departure from average not only beats the previous August record set in 2005 by 0.14°F (0.08°C), but also beats the previous all-time record set just two months ago in June 2014 by 0.05°F (0.03°C). The margin of error is ±0.09°F (0.05°C). Record warmth was observed across much of the central and western equatorial Pacific along with sections scattered across the eastern Pacific and regions of the western Indian Ocean, particularly notable in the waters east of Madagascar.
  • Neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions were present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during August 2014. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center estimates that there is a 60–65 percent chance that El Niño conditions will develop during Northern Hemisphere fall and winter.

Global temperature highlights: June–August

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June–August was the highest on record for this period, at 1.28°F (0.71°C) above the 20th century average of 61.5°F (16.4°C). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.22°F (0.12°C).
  • The global land temperature was the fifth highest for June–August on record, at 1.64°F (0.91°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error is ±0.36°F (0.20°C).
    • Although the temperature was 0.4°F (0.2°C) higher than the 1981–2010 average, summer 2014 was the coolest since 2005 for Austria since records began in 1884.
    • Summer in Denmark was 2.9°F (1.6°C) warmer than the 1961–1990 average and 0.7°F (0.4°C) warmer than the more recent 2001–2010 average. The second highest July temperature on record contributed to the summer warmth.
  • For the ocean, the June–August global sea surface temperature was 1.13°F (0.63°C) above the 20th century average, the highest for June–August on record. This beats the previous record set in 2009 by 0.08°F (0.04°C). The margin of error is ±0.09°F (0.05°C). Much warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across most of the Indian Ocean and large parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Record warmth was particularly notable across a large swath of the Indian Ocean and parts of the western equatorial and northern Pacific Ocean.


Snow and ice highlights: August and June–August

    August 2014 Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    August 2014 Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent, from the August 2014 Global Snow & Ice Report
  • The average Arctic sea ice extent for August was 2.40 million square miles, 390,000 square miles (13.9 percent) below the 1981–2010 average and the seventh smallest August extent since records began in 1979 but the largest since 2009, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Sea ice extent was below average throughout much of the Arctic except the Barents Sea. By the end of August, the Northern Sea Route was open, with ice still blocking the Northwest Passage.
  • On the opposite pole, the Antarctic sea ice extent for August was 7.41 million square miles, 420,000 square miles (6.0 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the largest August Antarctic sea ice extent since records began in 1979, surpassing the previous record large August sea ice extent that occurred in 2013 by about 90,000 square miles. The last five months have had record large sea ice extent in the Antarctic. The August Antarctic sea ice extent was also the eighth largest for any month on record.

Precipitation highlights: August and June–August

    • The cooler-than-average August temperatures in the UK were accompanied by wet conditions. August tied as the seventh wettest since records began in 1910, due in part to ex-Hurricane Bertha passing over the U.K. on the 10th and 11th. Northern Scotland was record wet.
    • Latvia reported its fifth wettest August on record and second wettest for the 21st century, receiving 178 percent of the country's long-term average precipitation.
    • In France, even with a drier than average June, total summer (June–August) precipitation was more than 140 percent of average, marking one of the 10 wettest summers since national records began in 1959. It was the wettest July–August period on record for the country.
    • The Southwest Monsoon brought just 82 percent of the long-term (1951–2000) average rainfall to India for the period June 1 to August 27. All regions were below average. Northwest India received just 66 percent of its average amount, while the South Peninsula was closest to its long-term average among all regions, at 89 percent of average. By the end of August, the monsoon trough was generally near the Himalayan foothills.

Global temperature highlights: January–August

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for January–August was the third warmest such period on record, at 1.22°F (0.68°C) above the 20th century average of 57.3°F (14.0°C). If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest year on record. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.20°F (0.11°C).
  • The January–August worldwide land surface temperature was 1.82°F (1.01°C) above the 20th century average, the fifth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.41°F (0.23°C).
  • The global sea surface temperature for the year to date was 0.99°F (0.55°C) above the 20th century average, tying with 2010 as the warmest such period on record, behind only 1998. The margin of error is ±0.09°F (0.05°C).