Last March was the fourth warmest on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Overall, temperatures were 0.71 degrees Celsius (1.28 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average during March. Looking at the first three months of 2014, this year is the seventh warmest on record to date.
“This marks the fourth highest for March since records began in 1880 and the highest since 2010, the last March that warm-phase El Niño conditions were present,” reads an NOAA analysis.
Still, warming was not uniform in March: much of Canada and the eastern U.S. proved colder than average. Meanwhile, Russia and much of Europe proved significantly hotter than usual for this time of year.
“Extreme warmth over Eurasia more than offset the colder-than-average temperatures over most of North America this month, with the Northern Hemisphere observing its fourth highest land surface temperature on record,” according to the NOAA. In fact in some parts of northern Siberia, March temperatures were five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) above the average.
Temperature anomalies in March 2014 as compared to 1981-2010. Map courtesy of NOAA.
Meanwhile, prognosticators are predicting a possible El Nino for this summer or Autumn. An El Nino refers to unusually warm waters persisting in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. Such conditions often drives extreme weather around the world. In addition, El Nino years, especially strong ones, tend to be among the warmest on record.
This March marks the 349th month in a row that saw temperatures above the 20th Century Average. Since record keeping started in the 1880s, global temperatures have risen 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.53 degrees Fahrenheit) due to rising carbon emissions stemming mostly from burning fossil fuels. The world’s governments have pledged to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.64 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average, yet so far the planet is on track to warm significantly more if emissions aren’t cut quickly and aggressively.
Global March temperature anomalies from 1880-2014. Map courtesy of NOAA.
(03/31/2014) It’s not just melting glaciers and bizarrely-early Springs anymore; climate change is impacting every facet of human civilization from our ability to grow enough crops to our ability to get along with each other, according to a new 2,300-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The massive report states definitively that climate change is already affecting human societies on every continent.
(04/18/2014) For years climate change activists and environmentalists have been clamoring for a high-profile, high-impact TV series about climate change to make Americans more aware of an issue that will affect billions of people around the globe in coming decades. This week they finally got it when Showtime released the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously, a big-budget TV series featuring a number of Hollywood’s biggest stars as reporters and corespondents.
(04/18/2014) From 1999-2010, nearly three percent of the Amazon rainforest burned, and climate forecasts indicate dry conditions conducive to fire will only become more commonplace in the future. A new study indicates that rainforests are more vulnerable to fire than previously thought, and it warns the current combination of climate change and deforestation may be pushing Amazon forests past the breaking point.
(04/14/2014) The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables.
(04/08/2014) Although Showtime’s landmark new climate change series doesn’t premiere until Sunday, the network has released an edited version of the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously to the public (see below). The nine-part documentary series is being billed as a “groundbreaking” exploration into the many ways that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the lives of people around the world.