In case you missed it last week: NOAA
February 2023 was Earth’s 4th warmest on record
Europe saw its second-warmest winter as global sea ice set a new record low
March 14, 2023
The warm start to 2023 continued with last month ranking as the world’s fourth-warmest February in 174 years.
Last month also wrapped up a very warm December–February season for the planet as global sea ice set a record low for February, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Here’s more from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate report:
Climate by the numbers
February 2023 | Season (December 2022 – February 2023)
The February global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.75 degrees F (0.97 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 53.9 degrees F (12.1 degrees C), ranking as the fourth-warmest February in the global climate record.
February 2023 marked the 44th-consecutive February and the 528th-consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
Regionally, Asia had its seventh-warmest February on record, while South America, Europe and Africa all saw a top-20 warm February. North America and Oceania both had a warmer-than-average February, although temperatures did not rank among the top-20 warmest.
Looking at the three-month season (December 2022–February 2023), the global surface temperature was 1.62 degrees F (0.90 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 53.8 degrees F (12.1 degrees C). This ranks as the fifth-warmest December-through-February period in the global climate record, tied with 2018 and 2022.
The past nine December–through-February seasons have ranked among the 10-warmest such periods on record.
December 2022–February 2023 was also the Northern Hemisphere’s fifth-warmest meteorological winter and the Southern Hemisphere’s 10th-warmest meteorological summer on record, tied with 2003 and 2006.
Europe had its second-warmest meteorological winter on record (behind winter of 2019-2020) while Africa — which straddles the equator — saw its fourth-warmest December–through-February period.
Other notable climate events
- Sea ice hit record lows: Globally, February 2023 set a record for the lowest February sea ice extent (coverage) on record. Antarctic sea ice extent ranked lowest on record at 460,000 square miles below the 1991-2020 average as Arctic sea ice extent was about 260,000 square miles below the 1991–2020 average, ranking as the third-smallest February extent in the 45-year record.
- Tropical activity was above average: Five named storms occurred across the globe in February 2023. Four of those reached tropical cyclone strength (winds of 74 mph or higher) and one reached major tropical cyclone strength (winds of 111 mph or higher). The number of tropical cyclones was above the 1991-2020 normal of 3.5 storms for February.
The global accumulated cyclone energy (called ACE, a metric that indicates the amount of energy released by a tropical cyclone during its lifetime) was nearly twice the normal value and the second highest on record since 1972. The exceptionally long-lived Tropical Cyclone Freddy in the South Indian Ocean was responsible for about 75% of the ACE in February.
More > Access NOAA’s latest climate report and download the images.
John Bateman, email@example.com, (202) 424-0929
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