March 2023 second globally warmest month on climate record


Polar sea ice coverage for March 2023 ranked second smallest recorded

New Delhi: Globally March 2023 was the second warmest March in the 174-year climate record after 2016 as per NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

March 2023 also was the 47th-consecutive March and the 529th-consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

As per report, the global sea ice coverage also felt the heat, with sea ice running at its second-smallest extent since records began in 1979.

The average global land and ocean-surface temperature for March was 2.23 degrees F (1.24 degrees C) above the 20th-century average of 54.9 degrees (12.7 degrees C).
Looking at the continents, Asia had its second-warmest March on record, and South America and Africa each had their fourth-warmest.

Europe also saw its 10th-warmest March on record, while North America had a warmer-than-average March, but it did not rank among the top-20 warmest on record.
January through March

The 2023 year-to-date (YTD) global surface temperature was the fourth warmest on record at 1.87 degrees F (1.04 degrees C) above the 20th-century average.
Only the YTD for 2016 (warmest), 2020 (second) and 2017 (third) were warmer.

According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, it’s near certain (>99.0% chance) that 2023 will rank among the 10 warmest years on record, with a 96% chance this year will rank among the top-five warmest.
The report stated that globally, polar sea ice coverage ranked as the second-smallest coverage (extent) on record since records began in 1979.

Only 2017 had a smaller global extent. Arctic sea ice logged in at about 230,000 square miles below the 1991–2020 average—the sixth-smallest March extent in the 45-year record.
Antarctic sea ice coverage came in at about 490,000 square miles below average, the second-smallest coverage on record.

On the tropic storms four named tropical storms occurred across the globe in March, which was less than average.
All four reached tropical cyclone strength (winds of 74 mph or higher), with three of those reaching major tropical cyclone strength (winds of 111 mph or higher).
A strong El Niño pattern was present in March 2016, boosting temperatures.

El Niño begins as a warming of ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific, which warms the surrounding air and shuffles weather patterns across the northern hemisphere and beyond. Global temperatures tend to be higher during periods dominated by El Niño.

At present, ENSO, or the El Niño Southern Oscillation — the overarching pattern that oscillates between El Niño and La Niña — is in a neutral state. In other words, we’re at the midpoint between both extremes, without any particularly prominent push in either direction.

That’s what makes the current level of warmth stand out. According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, it is virtually certain (>99.0%) that the year 2023 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record and a 96% chance it will rank among the top five.


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