March 2010 Warmest on Record
World saw warmest March on record
1.39 degrees F above average; El Nino a factor, NOAA says
The Associated Press, April 15, 2010
WASHINGTON - And the heat goes on.
Last month was the warmest March on record worldwide, based on records dating back to 1880, scientists reported Thursday.
The average land and ocean surface temperature for the month was 56.3 degrees Fahrenheit (13.5 degrees Celsius), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
That was 1.39 degrees F (0.77 C) above the average for the month over the 20th century.
NOAA researchers said the warmer-than-normal conditions were especially notable in northern Africa, South Asia, Tibet, Delhi, India and Canada.
Cooler-than-normal regions included Mongolia and eastern Russia, northern and western Europe, Mexico, northern Australia, western Alaska and the southeastern United States.
Contributing to the record month was El Nino, a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that, combined with changes in winds and air pressure, can affect weather worldwide.
El Nino "contributed significantly to the warmth in the tropical belt and the overall ocean temperature," NOAA stated, and "is expected to continue its influence in the Northern Hemisphere at least through the spring."
In addition, climate researchers have been reporting rising global temperatures due to rising levels of carbon dioxide and others gases in the atmosphere trap heat instead of allowing it to escape into space.
NOAA also reported that in March Arctic sea ice, which normally reaches its maximum in that month, covered an average of 5.8 million square miles (15.1 million square kilometers).
That was 4.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average expanse, and the fifth-smallest March coverage since records began in 1979.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.