NASA Reports that November is Warmest on Record

Above: Global mean surface temperature anomalies (°C), November 2010, relative to 1951-1980. The number at the top right-hand corner is an estimate for the global mean. Source: NASA.

NASA's  Goddard Institute for Space Studies reported today (10 Dec 2010) that global surface temperatures were the highest ever recorded for the month, far surpassing the previous record -- set just last year.  The warmth was concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, which also experienced the warmest November on record.  NASA also indicated that 2010 thus far maintains its lead as the warmest year on record (131 years), with a January-November anomaly of 0.66oC above the long-term mean, compared to a 0.63oC anomaly in the second warmest year, 2005.

According to NASA, global surface temperatures in November were 0.74oC above the global mean for 1951-1980, far surpassing the record set just last November of 0.68oC above the mean.  The northern hemisphere was 1.19oC above the mean, putting it head-and-shoulders above the previous record set in 2005 -- 1.01oC above the mean.  The Southern Hemisphere was 0.48oC above the long-term mean, making it the fourth warmest on record.  The warmest November on record for the Southern Hemisphere is November 2009 (0.65oC above the mean).

As the map above indicates, the largest positive temperature anomalies were throughout the Arctic, in a band stretching from central Africa through the Middle East and into Russia and Asia, and in the Antarctic Peninsula.  The degree to which the Arctic was anomalously warm is illustrated in the graph below. 

Above: Surface temperature anomalies by latitude. Note that the largest positive temperature anomalies are in the far northern latitudes. Source: NASA.

Eli Kintisch at ScienceNow (NASA: 2010 Meteorological Year Warmest Ever) quotes NASA GISS director James Hansen as saying that temperatures in Hudson Bay were "10˚C above normal" for November and that "sea ice was absent while normally that [body of water] is covered by sea ice." See our posting earlier this week, Arctic Sees Second Lowest November Sea Ice Extent on Record, Favoring another Cold Season of Extremes in Mid-Latitudes. See our Online Resources section below for additional posting on climate change and its impacts this year.

The record temperatures in November are a continuation of a long term trend.  As reported in the NASA Earth Observatory feature, World of Change: Global Temperatures (9 Dec 2010), "the average global temperature on Earth has increased by about 0.8°Celsius (1.4°Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975, at a rate of roughly 0.15-0.20°C per decade."  See also the figure below showing the increase in monthly mean global surface temperatures from the mid-1990s through November 2010.

Above: Line plot of monthly mean global surface temperature anomaly, with the base period 1951-1980. The black line shows meteorological stations only; red dots are the land-ocean temperature index.  The trend from 1996 through November 2010 is clearly upward. Source: NASA.

Online Resources:

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

World of Change: Global Temperatures .  Feature (9 Dec 2010) from NASA's Earth Observatory. "According to an analysis by NASA scientists, the average global temperature has increased by about 0.8°Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880. Two-thirds of the warming has occurred since 1975."

NASA: Hottest November on record, 2010 likely hottest year on record globally — despite deepest solar minimum in a century.  Climate Progress, 10 Dec 2010.

WWF Climate Blog:


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