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Would you believe 2017 was the second-warmest to date? As we endure arctic cold 2018, data from NOAA also reveals record low ice coverage in Artic

People around the globe will remember 2017 for a number of reasons. Among these is the intense heat that the earth experienced over the course of the year. The year-to-date average temperature as recorded in late-November to early-December was 14.84 degrees Celsius. Those first eleven months of 2017 experienced warmer than average temperatures.

Warmer-than-average temperatures dominated across the world’s land and ocean surfaces during November. No land or ocean areas had record cold temperatures, however. The combined global average temperature over the land and ocean surfaces for November was 0.75 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 12.9 degrees Celsius.

 

Land and ocean temperature departure from average November 2017. Data from National Centers for Environmental Information.

 

The heat wave began early for some areas. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Environmental Information, Canada experienced warmer-than-average temperatures in February, “with a small area in the West experiencing near- to below-average conditions.” Environment and Climate Change Canada stated that the province of Ontario experienced temperatures between 2 and 5 degrees above the 1981-2010 average. Spring came a little early for Ontario, with record highs in mid-February.

Portugal’s national average mean temperature for the month of November was 0.5 per cent Celsius above average, while the maximum temperature was the highest for November since 1982. New Zealand also experienced high temperatures during November, with a national temperature of approximately 14.8 degrees Celsius, or 1.1 degrees Celsius above the 1981 to 2010 average.

 

Global temperatures 2017. Data NOAA.

 

The Kingdom of Bahrain’s mean temperature for the month tied with 1954 as the highest November mean temperature since records began in 1902. The maximum temperature for the month was the seventh highest, while the minimum was the highest on record at 2.2 degrees Celsius. The same did not hold true in every area across the globe, however. Austria experienced its coolest November since 2007, with an average temperature 0.2 degrees above average.

The Arctic experienced record-low sea ice coverage, at 11.6 per cent below the 1981-2010 average by November 2017. Additionally, the average global land-surface temperature ranked as the ninth warmest for the month of November and the fifth warmest for the season, while the sea-surface temperature global average ranked fourth and third, respectively. The Antarctic sea ice extent for November was 5.7 per cent below the 1981-2010 average, the second smallest November Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service stated that the average temperature for 2017 was 14.7 degrees Celsius at the Earth’s surface, which is 1.2 degrees above pre-industrial times. In fact, 2017 was only slightly cooler than 2016, the warmest year on record. Copernicus head Jean-Noel Thepaut noted that “16 of the 17 warmest years have all been this century.”

 

 

As for 2018, the heat is not likely to become any more extreme. According to Professor Adam Scaife of the British Met Office, “Next year is not likely to be a record, but it will still be a very warm year.”

Obviously, Professor Scaife wasn’t thinking of January 2018 — with record cold temperatures in Toronto.

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