The reports are in, and across the entire globe, this past month has come out as the warmest November on record. It was also the 37th consecutive November and the 345th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average.
It hasn't felt all that warm in North America, with biting cold windchill, blizzards and snow and ice storms. We're moving into winter while weather patterns over the continent have been a bit more 'back to normal'. However, the rest of the world has definitely been compensating, even those areas also headed into winter. Several regions, including a wide swath of Russia, saw their highest November temperatures on record.
Some highlights for the month, from the National Climate Data Center:
• The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces across the globe for November 2013 was the warmest for all Novembers of the 134-year period of record, at 0.78°C above the 20th century average of 12.9°C
• Separately, the global land surface temperature was 1.43°C above the average of 5.9°C (second warmest November on record, behind 2010), while the global oceans saw an average surface temperature was 0.54°C above the average of 15.8°C (tying 2009 as the third warmest November ever)
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You can read the entire NCDC report on their website, but what does this all mean?
Well, the world is still warming. Despite what you've probably heard about a 'hiatus' or 'pause,' global warming hasn't stopped. The rate of temperature rise between 1998 and 2005 appeared to be less than at other times, in part because 1998 was an extremely hot year (3rd highest on record). However, there were natural effects — from volcanic eruptions, changes in the pattern of El Niño-La Niña in the Pacific, changes in solar activity and even absorption of heat into the oceans — that influenced things. Remove those effects and the temperature rise continues on steady, right through those years. Plus, since 2005 we've had the two hottest years on record (2005 in second place and 2010 ranking first).
Overall, it means that a lot of excess energy is being stored our climate system, and that's going to come out somehow — probably through more extreme droughts and stronger storms that we just aren't prepared to handle.
(Images courtesy: NOAA/NCDC)
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