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Planet's Ocean Surface Temperature Breaks Record for July
ASHEVILLE, North Carolina, August 17, 2009 (ENS) - The global ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, surpassing the previous high mark established in 1998, according to the latest analysis by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville.

Global warming continues on land as well as at sea. The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the fifth warmest on record, at 1.03 degrees Fahrenheit (0.57 degree Celsius) above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees F (15.8 degrees C).

Sunlight illuminates the beach at Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Photo by Neloqua)

The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 hit a record high - 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F (16.4 degrees C).

It was the second record month in a row for ocean warming. The July ocean surface temperature departure of 1.06 degrees F from the long-term average equals the ocean surface temperature in June 2009, which was also a record.

On land, the global land surface temperature for July 2009 was 0.92 degree F (0.51 degree C) above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F (14.3 degree C), and tied with 2003 as the ninth-warmest July on record.

The warm El Nino ocean surface temperature pattern persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean during July 2009. Related sea-surface temperature anomalies increased for the sixth consecutive month.

Large portions of many continents had substantially warmer than average temperatures during July 2009, the NOAA analysis shows. The greatest departures from the long-term average were evident in Europe, northern Africa, and much of western North America.

Broadly, across these regions, temperatures were about 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) above average.

Cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across southern South America, central Canada, the eastern United States, and parts of western and eastern Asia.

The most notably cool conditions occurred across the eastern United States, central Canada, and southern South America where region-wide temperatures were nearly 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) below average.

Up north, Arctic sea ice covered an average of 3.4 million square miles during July, the National Climatic Data Center said. This is 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the third lowest July sea ice extent on record, behind 2007 and 2006.

Down near the South Pole, Antarctic sea ice extent in July was 1.5 percent above the 1979-2000 average.

July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979, while July Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.8 percent per decade over the same period.

Copyright Environment News Service, ENS, 2009. All rights reserved.



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