We may not have felt it in the United States, but last month was the second-warmest April worldwide since scientists began recording temperature data, according to a preliminary report from NASA.
Around the planet, April temperatures averaged 58.5°F, which is 1.3°F above average temperatures. This is only a tad lower than than the warmest April ever recorded, a milestone hit in 2010 when NASA calculated global temperatures of 1.44°F above average, according to the data sheet.
The data announcement also marks this April as the 350th month in a row where the globe has experienced above-average temperatures, a phenomenon that scientists agree is largely caused by increases of man-made greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Incidentally, April 2014 also marked the first month in human history when average carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached above 400 parts per million.
The relatively warm average may come as a surprise to those who live in the United States, as the country itself experienced what Climate Central accurately called “ho-hum” temperatures for the month. According to U.S. records from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), average temperatures here were only 0.7°F above average, marking the 46th warmest April on record.
The real heat, as NASA’s map shows, was seen in Europe and Asia, where temperatures reached anywhere from 2 to 7.9 degrees above average. In the U.K., April marked the beginning of a heatwave that is projected to last until June.
As Andrew Freedman at Mashable notes, NASA’s preliminary monthly temperature rankings are subject to change as new data arrives, meaning it’s not 100 percent certain whether April 2014 will end up as the definitive second-place winner. In addition, NOAA also maintains its own analysis of global temperature records, which could differ slightly from NASA’s. NOAA’s next global report will come out in a few days, Freedman said.