NOAA has just followed JMA and NASA in reporting on October’s average global surface temperature. The surface temperature is the combination of thermometer-at-head-height data and sea surface temperatures, averaged out for the planet. Several groups track this data, and though there is much overlap in the instruments used, each group has its own way of processing the data to eliminate errors and biases, and to adjust for missing information (such as large regions with little data).
NOAA points out that October had the greatest above-average departure from average for any month. Also, NOAA confirms that the year to date temperature is the highest in their data set, which goes back to the 19th century.
The October average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76°F (0.98°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for October on record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.36°F (0.20°C), and marked the sixth consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken. This record departure from average was also the highest on record for any month, surpassing the previous record set last month by 0.13°F (0.07°C).
The October globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.39°F (1.33°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for October in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in October 2011 by 0.31°F (0.17°C).
The October globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.53°F (0.85°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest temperature for October in the 1880–2015 record surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.27°F (0.15°C). This was also the highest departure from average for any of the 1630 months of recordkeeping, surpassing the previous record set last month by 0.07°F (0.04°C).
The average Arctic sea ice extent for October 2015 was 460,000 square miles (13.4 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the sixth smallest October extent since records began in 1979, according to analysis by the National Snow and Ice Data Center using data from NOAA and NASA.
Antarctic sea ice extent during October 2015 was 90,000 square miles (1.3 percent) below the 1981–2010 average. This was the 14th largest Antarctic sea ice extent on record. On October 6th, the Antarctic sea ice extent reached its annual maximum extent at 7.24 million square miles, slightly above average and in contrast to the past three years when record large maximum sea ice extents were observed.
According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during October was 1.49 million square miles above the 1981–2010 average and the seventh largest in the 48-year period of record. Eurasia had its sixth largest October snow cover extent, while North America had its 11th largest.
The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.55°F (0.86°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest for January–October in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 0.22°F (0.12°C). Eight of the first ten months in 2015 have been record warm for their respective months.
The year-to-date globally-averaged land surface temperature was also the highest for January–October in the 1880–2015 record at 2.30°F (1.28°C) above the 20th century average. This value surpassed the previous record of 2007 by 0.31°F (0.17°C).
The year-to-date globally-averaged sea surface temperature was 1.28°F (0.71°C) above the 20th century average and the highest for January–October in the 1880–2015 record. This value surpassed the previous record of 2014 by +0.14°F (+0.08°C).
I put NOAA’s graphic of land and ocean temperature for the year to date at the top of the post. There are three things to note here.
First, the vast majority of the planet’s surface is above average for the year so far. Second, huge areas of the land and sea are record warm for the year so far. Third, that blue patch in the North Atlantic is still there. This is a region that has been anomalously cool for several years now, and is of significant concern because changes in atmospheric and ocean conditions in that region may cause a shift in the major Atlantic sea currents that control a lot of weather in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in northern and western Eurasia.
Here’s a graphic of specific anomalies of note for October 2015 (original here):