, May 18, 2010 (ENS) - The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for April and also for the four-month period from January-April based on data going back to 1880 when recordkeeping began, the National Oceanic and atmospheric Administration, NOAA, said Monday.
Last month's average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record, the agency said in a statement.
The monthly analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville is part of the regular climate services that NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
Less snow than usual this year in Canada's Ottawa Valley meant a smaller spring runoff. April 2010. (Photo by Jeff Baine)
Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, with the most prominent warmth in Canada, Alaska, the eastern United States, Australia, South Asia, northern Africa and northern Russia.
Cooler-than-normal places included Mongolia, Argentina, far eastern Russia, the western contiguous United States and most of China.
NOAA data shows that the combined April global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record at 58.1 degrees F (14.5 degrees C), which is 1.37 degrees F (0.76 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 56.7 degrees F (13.7 degrees C).
The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record for January-April at 56.0 degrees F (13.3 degrees C), which is 1.24 degrees F (0.69 degrees C) above the 20th century average.
Separately, the global ocean surface temperature was 1.03 degrees F (0.57 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 60.9 degrees F (16.0 degrees C) and the warmest on record for April. The warmth was most pronounced in the equatorial portions of the major oceans, especially the Atlantic.
The global land surface temperature was 2.32 degrees F (1.29 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 46.5 degrees F (8.1 degrees C) - the third warmest on record for April.
The El Nino weather pattern in the Eastern Tropical Pacific weakened in April, as sea-surface temperature deviations decreased across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The weakening contributed to the warmth observed in the tropical belt and the warmth of the overall ocean temperature for April.
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, El Nino conditions are expected to continue through June.
Thin Arctic sea ice in April means even thinner sea ice in August. Polar bear breaks through thinning Arctic ice, August 23, 2009 (Photo courtesy USGS)
Arctic sea ice was below normal for the 11th consecutive April, covering an average of 5.7 million square miles. This is 2.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the 15th smallest April extent since records of Arctic sea ice extent began in 1979.
However, it was the largest April Arctic sea ice extent since 2001, the data shows.
In Antarctica, sea ice extent in April was near average, just 0.3 percent below the 1979-2000 average.
Based on NOAA satellite observations, snow cover extent was the fourth-lowest on record since 1967 when recordkeeping on snow cover was started. It was below the 1967-2010 average for the Northern Hemisphere for the seventh consecutive April.
Warmer-than-normal conditions over North America, Europe and parts of Russia contributed to the small snow footprint, NOAA said.
The North American snow cover extent for the month was the smallest on record for April. It also fell farthest below the long-term average of any month on record.
According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria and Tasmania had their warmest 12-month period since national recordkeeping began.
Since the middle of the 20th century, Australian temperatures have, on average, risen by about 1 degrees C (1.8 degrees F) with an increase in the frequency of heatwaves and a decrease in the numbers of frosts and cold days. Rainfall patterns have also changed - the northwest has seen an increase in rainfall over the last 50 years while much of eastern Australia and the far southwest have experienced a decline.
According to the Beijing Climate Center, China experienced its coolest April since 1961. Liaoning, Jilin and Shandong had their coolest April on record. Hebei, Anhui and Jiangsu had their second coolest April since records began in 1951.
China had its wettest April since 1974 and Tibet had its wettest April since records began in 1951. Meanwhile, Germany had its second-driest April on record since 1901, behind 2007, according to the German Meteorological Service.
Scientists, researchers, and leaders in government and industry use NOAA's monthly reports to help track trends and other changes in the world's climate.
NOAA says its climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.
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