APR 17, 2020 7:55 PM PDT

Earth Just Had its Second Warmest March

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

The planet continues to set climate records, which is certainly not great news. Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that March 2020 had the second “highest for the month” globally averaged temperatures on record. It’s worth noting that the NOAA global temperature record dates back 141 years to 1880. 

According to NOAA’s March 2020 Global Climate Report, the global land and ocean surface temperature for March 2020 was 1.16 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average of 12.7 degrees Celsius. Notable warm temperatures occurred throughout Asia, the eastern United States, and southern South America. The report states that temperatures were 2.0 degrees Celsius or more above average. South America experienced it’s warmest March on record. In the Ocean, the tropical Atlantic, central Indian, and areas of the northern and southwestern Pacific Ocean regions experienced temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius above average or higher. 

The Global Climate Report summarizes that in March 2020, more than 8% of land and ocean surfaces on earth experienced record high temperatures. March 2016 remains the highest, with more than 15% of Earth’s surface areas breaking records. Additionally, the globe’s 10 warmest Marches have happened within the past 30 years.

Other notable details from NOAA’s new release include the fact that March 2020 was the 423rd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average. Additionally, it was the 44th consecutive March with above-average temperatures.

NOAA reports that the United States experienced it’s tenth warmest March ever, with above-average temperatures occurring east of the Rocky Mountains. Florida experienced it’s warmest March on record, while 17 other states had a “top 10 warm month.”

The above-average March weather in the United States contributed to several climate events, including a record ice melt in the Bering Sea and the intensification of drought conditions. NOAA estimates that by the end of March, 14.5% of the country was in drought; a 3% increase from the start of the month.

Additionally, NOAA highlighted two severe storms in the United States in 2020, both of which exceeded losses of $1 billion. The two storm events caused the loss of 35 people and severely impacted the economics of the areas. Since 1980, more than 265 “billion-dollar weather and climate disasters” have occurred. 

Sources: NOAA News, NCEI Global Climate Report, NCEI

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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