February 2013 the globe’s 9th warmest February on record
February 2013 was the globe’s 9th warmest February since records began in 1880, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Thursday. February 2013 global land temperatures were the 11th warmest on record, and global ocean temperatures were the 8th warmest on record. February 2013 was the 336th consecutive month with global temperatures warmer than the 20th century average and the 37th straight warmer-than-average February. The last time Earth had a below-average February global temperature was in 1976, and the last below-average month of any kind was December 1984. Global satellite-measured temperatures in February 2013 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were 10th or 8th warmest in the 35-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively. The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during February 2013 was the 16th largest in the 47-year period of record. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has a comprehensive post on the notable weather events of February 2013 in his February 2013 Global Weather Extremes Summary. Costly weather disasters were relatively rare in February, according to AON Benfield. The most expensive weather-related disasters in February 2013 were:
1) Drought in Central and Eastern China, 1/1 – 2/28, $541 million
2) Winter storm in Eastern China, 2/18 – 2/21, $124 million
3) Winter Storm Nemo, Northeast U.S., 2/8 – 2/9. $100+ million
4) Hattiesburg, MS tornado and associated storm damage, 2/9 – 2/11, $100+ million
The deadliest February weather disaster was Tropical Cyclone Haruna, which hit Madagascar at 00 UTC Friday, February 22, as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, killing 26.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for February 2013, the 9th warmest February for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Colder than average conditions occurred in the Western U.S., western Europe, and northern Russia. No land areas in the Southern Hemisphere were cooler than average, and record warm conditions were experienced in parts of Indonesia and northern Australia. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .
Figure 2. The deadliest weather disaster of February 2013 was Tropical Cyclone Haruna, which hit Madagascar at 00 UTC Friday, February 22, as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, killing 26. In this image, Haruna is over Madagascar at 11:05 UTC February 22, 2013, and was a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.
Figure 3. The most expensive weather disaster of February 2013 was the on-going drought in Central and Eastern China, which has cost $541 million since the beginning of 2013. Image credit: Beijing Climate Center.
Neutral El Niño conditions continue in the equatorial Pacific
For the 11th month in row, neutral El Niño conditions existed in the equatorial Pacific during February 2013. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expects neutral El Niño conditions to last through spring. Temperatures in the equatorial Eastern Pacific need to be 0.5°C below average or cooler for three consecutive for a La Niña episode to be declared; sea surface temperatures were 0.1°C below average as of March 11, and have ranged from 0.1 – 0.6°C below average during 2013.
Arctic sea ice falls to 7th lowest February extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during February reached its seventh lowest extent in the 35-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). This was the 11th consecutive February and 141st consecutive month with below-average Arctic sea ice extent. The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen the ten lowest February extents in the satellite record. Arctic sea ice is nearing its winter maximum and will soon begin to melt.