Ag Weather Forum

Reports Show Very Warm 2017 Start

By Bryce Anderson , DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
A map of February temperatures shows many areas with record warmth for the month -- including much of the central and eastern U.S. (NOAA graphic by Nick Scalise)

Highlights from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI -- formerly the Climate Date Center) for February 2017 and the 2016-17 show extensive global warmth -- and record-low ice coverage in both the North Pole and the South Pole. Here is the rundown from the NCEI site.

Global Highlights: February 2017

The February temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76 degree Fahrenheit above the 20th century average of 53.9 deg F. This was the second highest for February in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016.

The February globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.20 deg F above the 20th century average of 37.8 deg F. This value was also the second highest February land global temperature in the record, trailing behind 2016. (NOTE: This kind of departure is a LEAP -- not a step -- above average. BA)

The February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.24 deg F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.6 deg F -- the second highest global ocean temperature for February in the record, behind the record year 2016.

According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during February was 150,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average. This was the 22nd largest February Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 51-year period of record. The North American snow cover extent was the 15th smallest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the 19th largest.

The average Arctic sea ice extent for February was 455,600 square miles (7.6%) below the 1981-2010 average. This was the smallest February extent since records began in 1979 and 15,400 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 2016, according to an analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center based on data from NOAA and NASA.

The Antarctic sea ice extent for February was 290,000 square miles (24.4%) below the 1981-2010 average. This was the smallest February Antarctic sea ice extent since records began in 1979 and 60,000 square miles smaller than the previous record set in 1997. On February 13, the daily Antarctic sea ice extent reached a new record low at 884,000 square miles and continued to drop throughout the month, reaching 822,400 square miles by Feb. 28.

Global highlights: Seasonal (December-February 2017)

The December-February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60 deg F above the 20th century average of 53.8 deg F. This was the second highest for December-February in the 1880-2017 record, trailing behind 2015/16.

The globally averaged land surface temperature for December-February 2017 was 2.74 deg F above the 20th century average of 37.8 deg F. This was the second highest for December-February in the record, behind 2015/16.

The December-February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19 deg F above the 20th century average of 60.5 deg F -- also the second highest for December-February in the record, behind the record set during 2015/16.

Global highlights: Year-to-date (January-February 2017)

The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69 deg F above the 20th century average of 53.8 deg F. This was the second highest for January-February in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016.

The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.99 deg F above the 20th century average of 37.4 deg F. This was also the second highest for January-February in the record, behind 2016.

The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.21 deg F above the 20th century average of 60.6 deg F. This was the second highest for January-February in the record, behind 2016.

The full NCEI report is at this link: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/…

Bryce

Twitter @BAndersonDTN

(AG)

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Bryce Anderson 3/22/2017 | 5:11 AM CDT
IRI has near to above normal in the Midwest.
Unknown 3/21/2017 | 6:43 PM CDT
Hi Bryce, OK, So what does the International Climate Research Institute, have forecast for spring, summer temps, in U.S., Midwest 2017?
Brad Paumen Mn.
Bryce Anderson 3/21/2017 | 1:59 PM CDT
The incredible February warmth also led to drying of grasses in the southern Plains, which in turn helped fuel the tragic wildfires in early March. There was also a very bad fire in Colorado last week. And a Forest Service report done in August 2015 said: "the U.S. burns twice as many acres as three decades ago, and Forest Service scientists believe the acreage burned may double again by mid-century." The report concludes that by 2025--just 8 years away--annual fire-fighting cost could regularly exceed 1.8 Billion dollars annually.
Bryce Anderson 3/21/2017 | 9:44 AM CDT
Regarding the questiion about winter forecasts--the International Climate Research Institute (IRI) had overwhelmingly above normal temperatures forecast for the world's regions for the Dec-Jan-Feb 2016-17 period. One of the very few exceptions was the northern Plains of the U.S. with below-normal temps forecast.
Jay Mcginnis 3/21/2017 | 8:58 AM CDT
Humans are determined to leave our shinny ball of blue an empty stone
Greg Hilgeman 3/20/2017 | 3:44 PM CDT
Wasn't the forecast avg. to below avg. temps for this past winter.