Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Boston May Not Believe It, but It Has Been the Warmest Winter Ever

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Boston May Not Believe It, but It Has Been the Warmest Winter Ever

Article excerpt

Bostonians still digging out from a record snow season may scoff at the news, but global temperatures for December through February were the warmest on record - which is saying something, since that goes back 135 years.

In fact, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's report this week, global temperatures for the period could have been even higher but for cooler-than-average numbers across eastern North America (the United States and Canada).

Among other tidbits from NOAA's report:

From December to February, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average - the highest for the three-month period in the 1880- 2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.05 degrees.

Last month was the second warmest February on record. The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.48 degrees F above the 20th century average, just a fraction below the 1998 record (1.55 degrees above average).

The average Arctic sea ice extent for February was 370,000 square miles (6.2 percent) below the 1981-2010 average. This was the third smallest February extent since records began in 1979.

Parts of Russia, Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, and especially the US West were extra warm. As a whole, the US had a bit-cooler-than-normal February, but slightly warmer-than-normal winter.

"In February 2015, cooler to much-cooler-than average conditions overtook the entire eastern half of the United States and the eastern third of Canada, with some record cold pockets seen around the Great Lakes region and part of northeastern Canada near Hudson Bay," according to NOAA. "In stark contrast to the eastern United States, the western United States was encompassed by record warmth. The warm-cold pattern over the country has been observed over much of the past two years."

But, says NOAA, "The majority of the world's land surfaces ... were warmer than average with much-warmer-than average temperatures widespread across Central America, northern and central South America, Australia, most of Africa, and much of Eurasia, including a broad swath that covered most of Russia. …

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