Sunday, October 18, 2009
On Sept 12, 2009, the extent of sea ice in the Arctic reached the third lowest level ever recorded since satellite records began in 1979. The National Snow and Ice Data Center estimates that the overall extent dropped to 5.1 million square kilometers, well below the average minimum extent of 6.71 million square kilometers (1979-2000). Only 2007 and 2008 have had lower ice extents. The small increase in 2009 was mostly due to ice spreading caused by strong polar winds. Ice concentration and thickness, however, have not increased, making predictions about a rebound in Arctic ice premature at this moment.
NOAA has the full story (complete with an animation showing this year's retreat of sea ice) here.
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the second warmest September on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides.
NCDC scientists also reported that the average land surface temperature for September was the second warmest on record, behind 2005. Additionally, the global ocean surface temperature was tied for the fifth warmest on record for September.
Global Temperature Highlights
- The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.12 degrees F above the 20th century average of 59.0 degrees F. Separately the global land surface temperature was 1.75 degrees F above the 20th century average of 53.6 degrees F.
- Warmer-than-average temperatures engulfed most of the world’s land areas during the month. The greatest warmth occurred across Canada and the northern and western contiguous United States. Warmer-than-normal conditions also prevailed across Europe, most of Asia and Australia.
- The worldwide ocean temperature tied with 2004 as the fifth warmest September on record, 0.90 degree F above the 20th century average of 61.1 degrees F. The near-Antarctic southern ocean and the Gulf of Alaska featured notable cooler-than-average temperatures.