NCDC Releases August 2012 Global Monthly Climate Report

August 2012 Global Temperature Anomalies Map

Credit: NOAA

The average global temperature over land and ocean surfaces was fourth highest on record for August at 61.22°F, 1.12°F above the 20th-century average. It also marked the 36th consecutive August and 330th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th-century average.

Most areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including far northeastern North America, central and Southern Europe, and east central Asia. Meanwhile, parts of Siberia were most notably cooler than average.

The August 2012 global land area temperature tied with 2001 and 2011 as the second warmest August on record, at more than 1.6°F above the 20th-century average. For the oceans, the August global sea surface temperature was close to 1°F above the 20th-century average, tying with 2006 as the fifth warmest for August on record. It was also the greatest above-average ocean temperature for any month since July 2010.

Neutral conditions continued during August across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, with sea surface temperatures trending toward 0.9°F above average for a three-month period, the official threshold for the onset of El Niño conditions. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, El Niño conditions will likely emerge during September 2012.

Additionally, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles on August 26, dipping below the smallest extent on record, which occurred on September 18, 2007 at 1.61 million square miles. By the end of the month, sea ice extent dropped to 1.42 million square miles, with the melt season expected to last until mid-September. The six lowest sea ice extents have all occurred in the past six years.

This monthly analysis (summary, full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business, and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.