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 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.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.