Earlier this week, I posted a piece about the warmest March on record, according to NASA’s satellite dataset.
Yesterday, NOAA issued their March 2010 Global Analysis. Their analysis is constructed in a different way than is NASA’s, which is good – it serves as an independent check on the other. NOAA reached the same conclusion as NASA did: March 2010 was the warmest March on record.
According to NOAA, globally averaged temperatures for the month of March reached 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average of 54.9°F (13.5°C).
Here are what the worldwide temperature anomalies look like. You can see the very warm (compared to normal) temperatures across Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America. Cooler temperatures were found across eastern Russia, southeast US and northeastern Europe.
One relatively short-lived pattern is helping to drive these record temperature anomalies: El Niño. One of the warmest Marches on record was observed during the 1997-1998 El Niño event. That El Niño was much stronger than this one in intensity – so something else must be impacting the temperatures. That something is very likely human-induced climate change. The solar cycle remains near its minima – that hasn’t changed in well over a year now.
It is crucial to understand that the vast majority of the warming the Earth has experienced as a result of human-induced climate change has occurred not on land, but in the oceans. The Earth’s temperature above land in recent months and years has increased above climatological averages, that is true. But the oceans have absorbed more heat than the land has. And that will have significant repercussions in the future. That heat has to go somewhere because the climate system is out of balance and it’s getting worse by the year. That heat, due to the lag in response time of the ocean, will be around for decades to centuries. The more we add, the longer it will take to return to the climate of the past 1000 years.
As I wrote earlier this week, people should expect additional records to be set this year and in the long-term. Until we stop forcing the climate, and for a long while after that, things will just keep getting warmer.
Cross-posted at SquareState.