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 - February 2013

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February 2013 global temperatures were ninth highest on record

The globally-averaged temperature for February 2013 tied with 2003 as the ninth warmest February since record keeping began in 1880. February 2013 also marks the 28th consecutive February and 336th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Many areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including eastern Europe, western Russia, the Middle East, much of Canada, and southern Greenland. Meanwhile, northern and western Alaska, far northwestern Canada, a large swath of the contiguous United States, western Europe, northwestern Africa, Siberia, Mongolia, and most of the eastern Pacific Ocean were notably below average.

Global temperature highlights: February

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces during February tied with 2003 as the ninth highest on record for February, at 54.93°F (12.67°C) or 1.03°F (0.57°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.22°F (0.12°C).
  • February 2013 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
    February 2013 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C
  • February marked the 28th consecutive February and 336th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature for February and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.
  • The global land temperature tied with 2010 as the 11th warmest February on record, at 1.80°F (1.00°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error is ±0.58°F (0.32°C).
  • Some national highlights are included below:
    • Following its record-warmest month ever in January, the average maximum and minimum temperatures across Australia for February remained above the 1961–1990 average, though not as extreme as the previous month, ranking as the 16th and 35th warmest for February, respectively.
    • The nationally averaged temperature for Austria was 1.8°F (1.0°C) below the 1981–2010 average. Some areas in the Alps were up to 7.4°F (4.1°C) colder than average.
    • February was "exceptionally warm" across Iceland, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The capital city of Reykjavic was third warmest for February in its 143-year period of record.
  • For the ocean, the February global sea surface temperature was 0.76°F (0.42°C), above the 20th century average of 60.6°F (15.9°C), the eighth warmest for February on record. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C).
  • Neither El Niñ'o nor La Niña conditions were present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during February, with sea surface temperatures below average across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, neutral conditions are favored over the next few months.

Precipitation highlights: February

  • Australia as a whole received rainfall that was 78 percent of average. However, some coastal regions, received higher-than-average rainfall due to various storm systems. Slow-moving Tropical Cyclone Rusty brought heavy rain to some areas in Western Australia. Elsewhere, a slow-moving low pressure system brought heavy rain and flooding to southeast Queensland and some regions to the south.
  • A series of high pressure systems over New Zealand during February brought dry conditions to most of the country. With a few exceptions, rainfall was less than 50 percent of normal across the country.

Polar ice highlights: February and Seasonal

    February 2013 Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    February 2013 Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent, from the February 2013 Global Snow & Ice Report
  • According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for February was the 16th largest in the 47-year record at 18.0 million square miles, which was 0.5 million square miles above the 1981–2010 average of 17.5 million square miles. Both the North American and Eurasian snow cover extents were above average during February.
  • According to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the February Arctic sea ice extent was 5.66 million square miles, 270,000 square miles (4.5 percent) below the 1981–2010 average of 5.93 million square miles, resulting in the seventh smallest monthly extent on record.
  • Antarctic sea ice extent was 1.48 million square miles, 310,000 square miles (3.6 percent) above the 1981–2010 average of 1.17 million square miles, resulting in the third largest monthly extent on record. The Antarctic sea ice extent reached its annual minimum extent on February 20th at 1.42 million square miles, marking the second largest annual minimum extent on record.
  • The Northern Hemisphere winter (December 2012–February 2013) snow cover extent was 18.2 million square miles, which was 0.8 million square miles above the 1981–2010 average of 17.4 million square miles and the fourth largest seasonal snow cover extent for the hemisphere. Both North America and Eurasia had winter snow cover extents above average.

Global temperature highlights: December–February

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for December–February was the 12th highest on record for this period, at 0.92°F (0.51°C) above the 20th century average of 53.8°F (12.1°C). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.18°F (0.10°C).
  • The global land temperature tied with 1992 as the 15th warmest December–February on record, at 1.28°F (0.71°C) above the 20th century average of 37.8°F (3.2°C). The margin of error is ±0.41°F (0.23°C).
    • Australia observed its record warmest summer (December 2012–February 2013), due in large part to December's fourth warmest maximum temperatures and January's all-time record monthly warmth.
    • For the ocean, the December–February global sea surface temperature was 0.77°F (0.43°C) above the 20th century average of 60.5°F (15.8°C), the eighth warmest for December–February on record. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C).

    Global temperature highlights: Year-to-date

    • The first two months of 2013 tied with 2005 as the ninth warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.01°F (0.56°C) above the 20th century average of 53.8°F (12.1°C). The margin of error is ±0.18°F (0.10°C).
    • The January–February worldwide land surface temperature was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average, marking the 11th warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.47°F (0.26°C).
    • The global ocean surface temperature for the year-to-date was 0.74°F (0.41°C) above average, making it the eighth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C).