Last month was the hottest September for globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces since record-keeping began in 1880, the US government said on Monday.
Not only did the month continue an ongoing trend of warming that has concerned scientists and environmentalists, it also marked the 38th consecutive September with a global temperature above the 20th century average, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
September’s record high was computed by combining average temperature over land and ocean surfaces, which came to 60.3 Fahrenheit (15.72 Celsius), or 1.3 F (0.72 C) above the 20th century average.
“With the exception of February, every month to date in 2014 has been among its four warmest on record, with May, June, August and September all record warm,” said the NOAA report.
Most of the land on Earth was warmer than normal last month, except for central Russia, some areas in eastern and northern Canada, and a small region in Namibia.
“Record warmth was notable in much of northwestern Africa, coastal regions of southeastern South America, southwestern Australia, parts of the Middle East, and regions of southeastern Asia.”
Last month in Australia was 3.65 F (2.03 C) higher than the 1961-1990 average, the fifth highest for the month since national records began in 1910.
Furthermore, the state of Western Australia was record warm at 4.95°F (2.75°C) above average, breaking a previous record set in 1980.
“Tasmania reported its second highest September maximum temperature on record and Victoria its seventh highest,” added NOAA’s report.
Much of Europe was also warmer than usual last month, including Norway, Germany, Finland, Austria, and France.
“Denmark reported its seventh warmest September since national records began in 1874, while the United Kingdom had its fourth warmest in the country’s 115-year period of record,” it said.
When it came to the world’s oceans, the September global sea surface temperature was 1.19 F (0.66 C) above the 20th century average, the highest on record for September.
“This also marked the highest departure from average for any month since records began in 1880, breaking the previous record of 1.17 F (0.65 C) set just one month earlier in August,” said NOAA.
It said record warmth was observed in parts of every major ocean basin, particularly in the northeastern and equatorial Pacific Ocean.
In the Arctic, sea ice cover reached its annual minimum in the middle of the month, with 1.94 million square miles (five million square kilometres).
“This was 463 000 square miles (1.2 million sq km) below the 1981-2010 average, but 622 000 square miles (1.6 million sq km) larger than the record small minimum that occurred in 2012,” said NOAA.
Meanwhile the trend of increasing sea ice continued in the Antarctic, as the average for September reached 7.73 million square miles, or 480 000 square miles (6.60 percent) above the 1981-2010 average.
“This was the largest September average Antarctic sea ice extent on record and the largest average Antarctic sea ice extent for any month,” said the report.