Global Climate Report - October 2002

Global Highlights:

  • Global average combined land and sea surface temperature was the fourth warmest for October 2002
  • October temperatures were much colder than average over the U.S. and northern Europe, with above average warmth across the Mediterranean region, southern Brazil and northern Argentina
  • October was wetter than average across much of the eastern U.S. and parts of Europe, with below average precipitation across Indonesia, Australia and the Pacific coast of North America

Contents of this Section:

This is a break in the document The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page. This is a break in the document

Top of Page Introduction

The October 2002 mean temperature was 2-4°C (3.6-7.2°F) below a 1968-1996 average across much of the central United States into southern Canada, most of northern Europe, and across parts of Mongolia and northeastern China as shown in the adjacent map of surface temperature anomalies estimated from the NCEP Reanalysis. Warmer than average temperatures occurred over Alaska, southern Brazil into northern Argentina and throughout much of southern Asia. The mean position of upper level ridges and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500 millibar height anomalies) are generally reflected by areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies at the surface, respectively. A belt of warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures persisted throughout the tropical Pacific during October, the signature of El Niño conditions.
Global Temperatature Anomalies Estimated from NCEP Reanalysis in October 2002
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Global Temperature Anomalies in October 2002
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October temperature anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network data set of land surface stations using a 1961-1990 base period show below average temperatures of 2-5°C (3.6-9°F) across the Northern Plains of the United States and across areas of Scandinavia into northwest Russia. Much warmer than average temperatures (+2 to +5°C or +3.6 to +9°F) extended across high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, including Alaska and far northern Canada. Anomalous warmth also was noted across parts of southern Argentina and Brazil, as well as much of Australia.
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Top of Page Temperature

  • For October 2002, the global average land and ocean surface temperature was 0.45°C (0.81°F) above the 1880-2001 average, ranking as the fourth warmest October in the period of record
  • The warmest Octobers occurred in 2001 and in 1997, with an anomaly of +0.55°C (+0.99°F)
  • The October ocean surface temperature average was second warmest on record, 0.45°C (0.81°F) above average
Global Temp Anomalies in October 2002
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  • The global land and ocean surface temperature average (January-October 2002) was the second warmest such 10-month period in the 1880-2002 record, 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the long-term mean and 0.08°C (0.14°F) cooler than during the El Niño year of 1998
  • January-October 2002 average temperature across land areas also ranked as second warmest on record, or 0.93°C (1.67°F) above the 1880-2001 average
Global Temp Anomalies in January-October 2002
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  • 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 globally averaged surface temperatures (land and ocean) have been warmer than the 1971-2000 average for the last 78 consecutive months
Global Temperature Timeseries
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Top of Page Precipitation

  • During October 2002, much above average precipitation fell along the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard, from the United Kingdom eastward into western Russia, and over southern India
  • Below average precipitation was observed across southeastern Alaska and North America's Pacific coast, Colombia and Venezuela, much of Australia, and Indonesia
  • Additional regional analysis can be found on the Global Hazards page
Global Precip Anomalies in October 2002 larger image

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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 October 2002, published online November 2002, retrieved on January 24, 2018 from