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| Earth on Oct 17, 2012

September 2012 ties with 2005 as warmest September on record

The last time we saw below-average September global temperatures was in 1976, and the last below-average month of any kind was seen back in February 1985.

According to a report released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September ever recorded globally since record keeping began in 1880. According to NCDC, the average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September on record, at 0.67 degrees Celsius (1.21 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). Globally-averaged land surface temperature for September 2012 was the third warmest September on record (1.02°C/1.84°F) above the average. The globally-averaged ocean surface temperature tied with 1997 as the second warmest September on record, at 0.54°C (0.97°F) above average.

Significant weather events across the globe in September 2012. Click here to expand image. Image via NOAA/NCDC

Overall, the average global temperature across land and ocean surfaces during September was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the long-term 20th century average. In fact, 2012 ties 2005 for the warmest September ever recorded globally. Many areas experienced extremely warm temperatures in regions such as east central Russia, Venezuela, French Guinea, and northern Brazil closer to the tropics. NCDC also reports that South America, western Australia, and central and eastern Europe was much warmer than average. If you look at global temperatures from January 2012 through September 2012, you will find that it was the eighth-warmest such period on record, at 0.57°C (1.03°F) above the 20th century average.

Land and ocean temperature percentiles for September 2012, showing you how warm/cool it was across the globe. Image Credit: NCDC

Climate across the United States for September 2012

Weather events that occurred in the United States for September 2012. Image Credit: NCDC/NOAA

Temperatures were not as warm as the previous months across the country with average contiguous United States temperatures in September 2012 being 67.0°F, which was 1.4°F above the 20th century average. These temperatures tied September 1980 as the 23rd warmest month on record. September 2012 marks the 16th consecutive month with above average temperatures for the contiguous United States. Roughly 63.55% of the country is still experiencing drought conditions, with the hardest hit areas including the central portions of the United States.

Drought conditions across the United States since October 9, 2012. Image Credit: Drought Monitor

Bottom line: Globally, September 2012 was tied with 2005 as the warmest September ever recorded since record keeping began. The last time we saw below-average September global temperatures was in 1976, and the last below-average month of any kind was seen back in February 1985. Average global land surface temperature was the third highest for September on record. In fact, the warmest September ever recorded was back in 2009 and the second warmest was recorded in 2005. Overall, their was widespread warmth across the globe, with the cool spots primarily across the northern Pacific ocean and across eastern Asia.