Last month was the warmest September the globe has experienced since record-keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Researchers from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center found that the Earth’s average global land and ocean surface temperature temperature in September was 60.30°F, which is 1.30°F warmer than the 20th century average.
In September, NOAA states, “warmer-than-average temperatures were evident over most of the global land surface, except for central Russia, some areas in eastern and northern Canada, and a small region in Namibia. Record warmth was notable in much of northwestern Africa, coastal regions of southeastern South America, southwestern Australia, parts of the Middle East, and regions of southeastern Asia.” Southern California experienced a heat wave in September that forced schools to shorten the school day and saw temperatures that about 15 degrees higher than average for the region.
NOAA also found that September’s record-breaking average temperature continues a trend set this year: average temperatures for the January through September 2014 period tied with 1998 and 2010 as the warmest January-September on record. In addition, NOAA states, almost every month in 2014 has been among its respective four warmest on record — May and June were also the warmest on record, as well as February, and this September follows a record-breaking August. It also continues a trend for warm Septembers: the last below-average September, NOAA notes, was in 1976.
According to NOAA, this year’s record-breaking warming trend could continue, making 2014 the warmest year since record keeping began.
“If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest calendar year on record,” NOAA states. Already, the last 12-month period (October 2013 — September 2014) was the warmest on record, according to the agency, averaging in at 1.24°F warmer than the 20th century average.
Arctic sea ice also hit its annual minimum in September, falling to the sixth-lowest extent recorded since 1978, according to NASA. NOAA notes that the minimum extent, which hit 1.94 million square miles on September 17, was463,000 square miles smaller than the 1981–2010 average.