Ag Weather Forum

2017 Third-Warmest On Record

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
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The average temperatures across the world land and ocean surfaces in 2017 was 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average; third-highest behind 2016 and 2015. (NCEI graphic by Nick Scalise)

Highlights of the climate summary for 2017 from the National Centers for Environmental Information show that global warming was widespread; in fact, the 2017 was the third-highest temperature year on record going back to 1880, trailing only 2016 (warmest) and 2015 (second-warmest). What's noteworthy is that 2017 was so warm globally, but yet was a non-El Nino year. --Bryce

"During 2017, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century average. This was the third highest among all years in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016 (warmest) and 2015 (second warmest).

"2017 marks the 41st consecutive year with global land and ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average, with the six warmest years on record occurring since 2010. Since the start of the 21st century, the (record for) annual global land and ocean surface temperature has been broken five times, three of those being set back-to-back (2014-2016).

"From 1880 to 1980, a new temperature record was set on average every 13 years; however, for the period 1981-2017, the frequency of a new record has increased to once every three years. The yearly global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.07 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is more than twice as great since 1980."

(Some other highlights—BA)

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"North America commenced the year with very warm conditions across much of the continent. The 2017 continental temperature for North America was the sixth highest yearly temperature on record. South America had its second warmest year on record, trailing behind 2015 by 0.16 deg C (0.29 deg F).

"Cold temperatures engulfed much of Europe at the start of 2017, with Austria experiencing one of its coldest Januarys since 1987, while the Netherlands had the coldest January since 2010. Then warmer temperatures affected the region throughout the rest of the year. Overall, Europe had its fifth highest temperature on record.

"Africa had its fourth highest continental temperature on record, behind 2010, 2016, and 2015. Asia's 2017 regional temperature ranked as the third highest in the 108-year record, behind 2015 (highest) and 2007 (second highest).

"Averaged as a whole, Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) had its sixth warmest year since continental records began in 1910.

"On September 13, Artic sea ice reached its annual minimum extent, two days earlier than average. The 2017 minimum was 4.64 million square km (1.79 million square miles), 1.22 million square km (471,000 square miles) below the 1981-2010 average, the eighth smallest minimum Arctic sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979. The 2017 minimum sea ice extent was 1.25 million square km (480,000 square miles) larger than the record smallest annual minimum extent that occurred in 2012.

"The Antarctic sea ice extent was record low for five months of the year and reached its smallest minimum extent on record on March 3 at 2.11 million square km (815,000 square miles). The Antarctic minimum extent was 740,000 square kilometers (286,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average minimum of 2.85 million square kilometers (1.10 million square miles) and 184,000 square kilometers (71,000 square miles) below the previous lowest minimum that occurred on February 27, 1997."

The full climate report is at this link:…

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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