The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for February 2009 was the ninth warmest since records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when later reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.
Temperature Highlights – February
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for February was 54.80 degrees F, 0.90 degree F above the 20th century mean of 53.9 degrees F, ranking as the ninth warmest on record.
- Separately, the global land surface temperature was 39.38 degrees F, 1.58 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 37.8 degrees F.
- The global ocean surface temperature of 61.25 degrees F ranked as eighth warmest on record and was 0.65 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.6 degrees F.
Temperature Highlights – Boreal (Meteorological) Winter
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for boreal winter (December-February) was 54.72 degrees F, 0.92 degree F above the 20th century mean of 53.8 degrees F and ranking eighth warmest.
- Separately, the global land surface temperature was 39.31 degrees F, 1.51 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 37.8 degrees F, ranking as ninth warmest on record.
- The global ocean surface temperature of 61.20 degrees F ranked as seventh warmest on record and was 0.70 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.5 degrees F.
Global Highlights for February
Based on NOAA satellite observations of snow cover extent, 10.7 million square miles (27.7 million square kilometers) of Eurasia (Europe and Asia) were covered by snow in February 2009, which is 0.4 million square miles (1.1 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2009 average of 11.1 million square miles (28.8 million square kilometers).
Satellite-based snow cover extent for the Northern Hemisphere was 17.4 million square miles (45.0 million square kilometers) in February, which is 0.3 million square miles (0.9 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2009 average of 17.7 million square miles (45.9 million square kilometers).
Arctic sea ice coverage during February 2009 was at its fourth lowest February extent since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Average ice extent during February was 5.7 million square miles (14.8 million square kilometers). The Arctic sea ice pack usually expands during the cold season, reaching a maximum in March, then contracts during the warm season, reaching a minimum in September.
Very hot, dry conditions affected southern Australia during the end of January and beginning of February. An intense heat wave February 6-8 resulted in a high temperature of 119.8 degrees F at Hopetoun, Victoria, Feb. 7, surpassing the previous record of 117.0 degrees F set in January 1939. This is a state record and perhaps the highest temperature ever recorded for such a southerly latitude. The hot, dry conditions contributed to the development of Australia’s deadliest wildfires in history.
China declared its highest level of emergency for eight provinces that were suffering from their worst drought in 50 years. The drought conditions, which began in November 2008, affected more than 4 million people and more than 24 million acres of crops.
A strong winter storm brought heavy snow to parts of the United Kingdom on February 2, disrupting transportation and bringing London to a virtual standstill. The event, in which up to 12 inches of snow fell in southeastern England, was the UK’s most widespread snow in 18 years, according to the UK Met Office.
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