July 23, 2014

Ocean Temps Reach All-Time Highs As June Marks Second-Straight Monthly Record

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The month of June set a new all-time heat record with an average global temperature of 61.2 degrees – five percent higher than the old record, which was set in 2010, officials from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Monday.

According to CBS and Associated Press (AP) reports, last month’s average global temperature was 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. In addition, ocean temperatures not only broke a monthly heat record but set an all-time high at 62.7 degrees, said Derek Arndt, chief of the NOAA climate monitoring branch.

June marked the second consecutive monthly heat record, as May’s average global temperature was 1.33 degrees above the average of 58.6 degrees, noted USA Today’s Doyle Rice. Furthermore, it was the 38th consecutive June (dating back to 1976) and 352nd consecutive month (dating back to February 1985) with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

“We are living in the steroid era of the climate system," Arndt told CBS and the AP, noting that the June heat set new records on every continent but Antarctica. In fact, all 12 of the monthly global heat records have been set since 1997 (including over half during the last decade), and no monthly cold records have been set since 1917. NOAA also said that the first six months of the year was the third warmest first half-year ever, behind only 2010 and 1998.

NOAA climatologist Jessica Blunden told the Wall Street Journal that the record-high temperatures are due in part to the forthcoming El Niño, which causes global ocean temperatures to rise. That results in larger Pacific hurricanes and colder winters in the southern US. When combined with climate change, the regular weather pattern that includes El Niño will likely result in even warmer than normal summer weather – and quite possibly, more monthly records.

“Some of the record warm regions on the planet during June included New Zealand, which had its hottest June since records began in 1909, and southwest and southeastern Greenland,” said Mashable’s Andrew Freedman. “Other warmer-than-average monthly temperatures were noted across northern South America, eastern and central Africa, and southern and southeastern Asia.”

The global sea surface temperature was 1.15 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, and it was the first month in which the global ocean temperature anomaly was higher than 1.08 degrees, NOAA said. The previous record of 1.06 degrees was first set in June 1998 and tied three other times, including in May.

“Although neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions were present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during June 2014, the ocean waters in that region continued to trend above average,” the agency added. “NOAA's Climate Prediction Center estimates that there is about a 70 percent chance that El Niño conditions will develop during Northern Hemisphere summer 2014 and 80 percent chance it will develop during the fall and winter.”