March 2018 in top 6 warmest on record

Last month wasn’t as hot as March 2016 or March 2017, but it’s in the warmest 6 since modern record-keeping began in 1880.

A global map of the March 2018 LOTI (land-ocean temperature index) anomaly, relative to the 1951-1980 March average. Image via NASA.

According to a monthly analysis by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), March 2018 was among the six warmest Marches since modern-record-keeping began.

Last month was 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (.89 degrees Celsius) warmer than the average March between 1951 and 1980. That’s lower than the two hottest years of the record — March 2016, which was 2.34 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) warmer, and March 2017, which was 2 degrees F (1.12 degrees C) warmer than average. March 2018 is comparable with the years 2002, 2010, and 2015, which cluster tightly around 1.62 degrees F (.9 degrees C) warmer than average. The modern global temperature record begins around 1880 because previous observations didn’t cover enough of the planet.

The GISTEMP monthly temperature anomalies superimposed on a 1980-2015 mean seasonal cycle. Image via NASA.

The GISS monthly analysis is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations. More information on the monthly analysis here.

Bottom line: March 2018 is in the top 6 warmest Marches since modern record-keeping began in 1880.

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Eleanor Imster