September 2012 tied for warmest on record across the globe

September 2012 is tied with 2005 for having the warmest September in the 133 years since record-keeping began.In the latest State of the Climate Global Analysis report, the combined global temperatures for last month show that 2012 is tied with 2005 for having the warmest September in the 133 years since record-keeping began.

The report, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), states that average combined global surface temperatures, for land and sea, for September 2012, was 15.67 degrees C, or 0.67 degrees C above the 20th century average. Along with September 2005, this is the warmest September since 1880, when record keeping started.

The overall State of the Climate report, which collects the monthly summaries, states that "September 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive September and 331st consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average."

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Some specific global temperature anomalies for last month include:

  • Closest to home, the United States has experienced warmer-than-average temperatures every month so far this year, making it the warmest first nine months of any year on record, Alaska had its fifth wettest September since their records began back in 1918 and Arctic sea ice reached its smallest extent on record, at less than half of the 1979-2000 average extent
  • In South America, areas of Argentina experienced their highest average minimum temperatures in over 50 years
  • Over in the United Kingdom, they experienced the coolest September on record since 1994
  • Hungary suffered through their worst drought in over 20 years
  • Deadly floods washed through areas of western and central Africa, due to heavier than normal rainfall amounts last month
  • Australia recorded its third highest maximum temperatures on record, at 1.94 degrees C above average
  • Antarctic sea ice reached its largest extent on record, due to higher than normal amounts of freshwater runoff from melting land ice
  • In the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Nadine lasted over 21 days, becoming the 5th longest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record
  • In the Pacific Ocean, Typhoon Sanba was the first to reach Category 5 intensity this year, and was the fourth tropical cyclone to hit the Korean Peninsula this year.

This excellent graphic shows the various climate anomalies around the globe so far for 2012

Western Canada is one of the regions identified as having higher-than-average temperatures last month, along with southern Greenland, northern Argentina, Paraguay, central Russia, Japan, and western Australia. Regions with cooler-than-average temperatures included western Alaska, areas of the midwest and southeast United States, southern Africa, eastern Russia and most of China.

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Due to the complexities of the global climate system, it is difficult to attribute any of the above events directly to increasing global temperatures, or even compute exactly how much the higher temperatures are contributing to them. However, since climate is simply defined as the prevailing weather conditions for any specific area, the average global temperature is a good indicator of the global climate. The records we have been collecting show that for over 27 years — since early 1985 — global monthly temperatures have been above the average set in the 20th century. This clearly indicates that we are setting a new, higher, global average temperature, and thus the global climate is changing.