Global Climate Report - March 2002

Global Highlights:

  • *Global average combined land and sea surface temperature was the warmest on record for March
  • Lower tropospheric temperatures were warmer than average
  • March temperatures were greater than 4°C (7.2°F) above average from eastern Europe to the Russian Far East
  • Above average precipitation was most notable across northern Argentina and Uruguay, with below average precipitation across much of Australia and Brazil

Contents of this Section:

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Top of Page Introduction

Using a 1992-2002 base period as shown in the adjacent blended temperature product of satellite and in-situ data, an expansive area of anomalous warmth during March was dominant across Asia. Cooler temperatures relative to average were observed across parts of North America, from the Canadian prairies southward into the plains of the United States. The mean position of upper level ridges and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500 millibar height anomalies), correspond to areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies, respectively. During March 2002, conditions in the tropical Pacific continued to indicate a developing El Niño episode. Click Here for the Global Blended Temperature in March 2002
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Click Here for the Global Temperature Anomalies in March 2002
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Temperature anomalies calculated from in-situ station data using a 1961-1990 base period also show the warmer than average temperatures across Asia, Europe and Alaska with cooler than average temperatures over central North America, central Australia and southern Argentina and Chile.
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Top of Page Temperature

  • Although surface temperatures in the tropics have not reached the warmth observed during the latter stages of the 1998 El Niño episode, the global land and ocean temperature in March 2002 was the warmest in the 1880-2002 record, 0.77°C (1.39°F) above the long-term average
  • Temperatures averaged across land areas were second warmest on record globally, or 1.50°C (2.70°F) above the long-term March mean
  • For the period January through March, combined land and ocean temperatures tied with the El Niño year of 1998 as warmest on record, 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the mean
  • Land areas experienced record warmth during the period January-March, or 1.39°C (2.50°F) above the 1880-2001 average
Click Here for the Global Temp Anomalies in March 2002
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Click Here for the Global Temperature Anomalies for October 2001-March 2002
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  • Based on data available at the time of this report, the global average land and ocean temperature for the period October 2001-March 2002 was 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 1880-2001 mean, the second warmest such period on record
  • Record high global monthly temperatures were established in January 2002 and November 2001
  • Serial monthly global surface temperature departures with respect to a 1971-2000 mean are shown in the figure to the right
  • The recent return to record or near record temperature departures is evident, and monthly global temperatures (land and ocean) have been warmer than the 1971-2000 average for the last 71 consecutive months
Click Here for the Global Temperature Timeseries
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Top of Page Precipitation

  • During March, much above average precipitation fell across parts of northern Argentina, Uruguay and the U.S. Tennessee Valley
  • Drier than average weather prevailed across much of Australia, Brazil, western Europe and much of the central and western U.S.
  • Additional regional analysis can be found on the Global Regional page
Click Here for the Global Precip Anomalies in March 2002
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Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Climate Report for March 2002, published online April 2002, retrieved on January 19, 2018 from