Summary Information

The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month.


Global Summary Information - October 2012

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Global temperatures were fifth highest on record for October

Arctic sea ice doubles from last month,
yet remains second lowest on record for October

The globally-averaged temperature for October 2012 was the fifth warmest October since record keeping began in 1880. October 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive October and 332nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were observed across much of Europe, western and far eastern Asia, northeastern and southwestern North America, central South America, northern Africa, and most of Australia. Meanwhile, much of northwestern and central North America, central Asia, parts of western and northern Europe, and southern Africa were notably below average.

Global temperature highlights: October

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for October tied with 2008 as the fifth highest for October on record, at 58.23°F (14.63°C) or 1.13°F (0.63°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.22°F (0.12°C).
  • October 2012 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
    October 2012 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C
  • October marked the 36th consecutive October and 332nd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average October was October 1976 and the last below-average month was February 1985.
  • The global land temperature was the eighth warmest October on record, at 1.66°F (0.92°C) above the 20th century average of 48.7°F (9.3°C). The margin of error is ±0.13°F (0.07°C).
  • Higher-than-average monthly temperatures were most notable across Europe, western and far eastern Asia, northeastern and southwestern North America, central South America, northern Africa, and most of Australia, while temperatures were below average across much of northwestern and central North America, central Asia, parts of western and northern Europe, and southern Africa.
  • The average temperature across the United Kingdom was 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the 1981–2010 average, making it the coldest October since 2003.
  • Temperatures were above average across southeastern Europe during October. The Republic of Moldova reported monthly temperatures that ranged from 4.5 to 6.3°F (2.5 to 3.5°C) above average across the country.
  • Every state and territory in Australia observed above-average monthly maximum temperatures during October. The nationally-averaged temperature was 2.75°F (1.53°C) above the 1961–1990 average, making it the 10th warmest October maximum temperature since records began in 1950.
  • For the ocean, the October global sea surface temperature was 0.94°F (0.52°C) above the 20th century average of 60.6°F (15.9°C), tying with 2004 as the fourth highest on record for October. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C). The northwestern Atlantic Ocean and part of the north central Pacific Ocean temperatures were markedly higher than average, while much of the eastern and part of the western Pacific Ocean and much of the southern Atlantic Ocean were below average.
  • Borderline neutral / weak El Niño conditions were present during October across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, with sea surface temperatures close to 0.9°F (0.5°C) above average for a three-month period, the official threshold for the onset of El Niño conditions. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, neutral conditions are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere's winter 2012/13.

Precipitation highlights: October

  • Sandy dumped copious rain over Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and much of the eastern United States. Sandy also brought blizzard conditions to the Central and Southern Appalachians, shattering all-time U.S. October monthly and single storm snowfall records.
  • The Finnish Meteorological Institute reported that precipitation totals across western parts of the country were double the October monthly average. Some stations broke their all-time highest monthly precipitation records for October.
  • October was dry across Australia, with the country experiencing rainfall that was 48 percent of average for the month. This was the 10th driest October since precipitation records began in 1900.

Snow cover & polar ice highlights: October

  • The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for October was the eighth largest monthly extent in the 45-year period of record, at 734,000 square miles above average. The North American snow cover extent was the seventh largest on record for October, while the Eurasian snow cover was the 11th largest. Canada and Russia both experienced much above average October snow cover.
  • October 2012 Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    October 2012 Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent, from the October 2012 Global Snow & Ice Report
  • During the first full month of the annual growth cycle, Arctic sea ice doubled in size after reaching its record smallest minimum in September. The October Arctic sea ice extent was 2.7 million square miles, 24.6 percent below average. This marked the second smallest monthly sea ice extent on record—only slightly larger than the record small October extent of 2007.
  • On the opposite pole, Antarctic sea ice extent declined rapidly after reaching its largest annual maximum extent on record. October Antarctic sea ice extent was 7.3 million square miles, 3.4 percent above average, and the third largest October ice extent on record.

Global temperature highlights: Year to Date

  • Record to near-record warmth over land from April to September and above-average global ocean temperatures resulted in the first ten months of 2012 ranking as the eighth warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.04°F (0.58°C) above the 20th century average of 57.4°F (14.1°C). The margin of error is ±0.16°F (0.09°C).
  • Year-to-Date Temperature Anomalies: Horserace
    Year-to-date temperatures by month, with 2012 compared to the five warmest years on record
  • The January–October worldwide land surface temperature was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, making this the sixth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.38°F (0.21°C).
  • The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.79°F (0.44°C) above average, tying with 1997 as the 10th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C).