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NOAA: Last Month Tied for Globe’s Hottest April

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This past April tied 2010 for the hottest April on record according to a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The record heat has the globe on track for its sixth-warmest year to-date and marks the 350th month in a row of above average global temperatures.

A map showing temperature anomalies across the globe in April 2014.
Credit: NOAA National Climatic Data Center

Data released from NOAA on Tuesday show that the global average temperature was 1.39°F above the 20th-century average for April. The Upper Midwest and Northeast were some of the only cooler-than-normal spots on the planet, continuing a pattern that’s been true for much of the winter. Parts of eastern Russia experienced record heat for the month, with temperatures up to 9°F above normal. Eastern Australia and temperatures across parts of the ocean also experienced record warmth.

The 1.39°F departure from normal also makes this April one of the 10 most anomalously warm months ever recorded. The record belongs to February 1998, when El Niño conditions helped bump the global average temperature 1.55°F above normal. El Niño has the potential to develop later this year, but current conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific, where El Niño develops, aren’t quite there yet. If it does develop, El Niño could help keep global temperatures high or push them even higher.

NOAA's report also showed this was the sixth-warmest start to the year since recordkeeping began in 1880. While the globe is on track for one of its top 10-warmest years, the U.S. national temperature is near average ranking, thanks to a chilly winter for the eastern half of the country.

Global precipitation was mixed, but some areas stood out. In particular, torrential rains near Pensacola, Fla., at the end of the month pushed that part of the Southeast to have its wettest April on record. April 29 was the single wettest day recorded at Pensacola since 1880.

Small portions of South Africa and Argentina experiencing their wettest April on record and parts of India, Chile and Africa experiencing their driest April. Though they didn’t break records, precipitation was also below normal in eastern Brazil and the U.S. Central Plains, two areas dealing with intense drought.

The release from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center basically corroborates NASA’s analysis of global average temperatures earlier this month. NASA’s data showed that this April was the second-warmest on record with global temperatures 1.3°F above the 1951-1980 average. The two agencies use slightly different techniques to analyze the data, but it’s clear from both that the globe was toasty for April.

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Comments

By Henry Wallace (Houston, Tx, 77006)
on May 21st, 2014

Do you have any explanation for why Siberia was so much warmer?  Could changing albedo due to transport of soot from China explain this? Really interesting stuff.

Reply to this comment

By Ken Towe (Eatonton, GA 31024)
on May 26th, 2014

Too much qualitative terminology? The wettest, warmest, driest, coolest.  It would be more helpful if actual temperatures were placed on terms such as “normal” or “20th century average”. And, what was that 1951-1980 average… in °F or °C? What is the 1981-2010 base period temperature that the other values are plotted with respect to?

The 20th century average for the US 48 states in 2013 was 52°F…all land. What was it for the global land? Or at least for the northern hemisphere land?  These would all be useful, just so each of us can compare to where we live. April in the US tied 1938 at 51.7°F…. the same year as a monster hurricane devastated the same locality as “Superstorm” Sandy.  And the whole US last year, 2013, tied 1910 at 52.4°F, which, coincidently, was also the driest year on record.

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