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Earth's warmest September on record

Ben Domensino, Thursday October 15, 2020 - 11:49 EDT

Our planet just had its warmest September on record, according to a new report released by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Based on the NOAA 'global temperature dataset record', which dates back to 1880, Earth just registered its warmest September on record. Last month's global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.97ºC above the 20th-century average, making it the highest of the last 141 Septembers in this dataset. The previous record was 0.95ºC above average, which occurred in both 2015 and 2016.

Image: Global combined land and ocean surface temperature anolaies for the last 141 Septembers, relative to the 20th century average. Source: NOAA National Centres for Environmental Information.

If we separate the world at the equator, the Southern Hemisphere also had a record-warm September (0.7ºC above average) and the Northern Hemisphere its third-warmest on record (1.21ºC above average).

Amid last month's global warmth, it's no surprise that Australia registered its 2nd highest national mean land surface temperature on record for September - coming in at a whopping 2.55ºC above the 1961-1990 average.

The report also states that Earth's 10 warmest Septembers have all occurred since 2005 and the seven warmest have been in the last seven years.

Other noteworthy achievements last month include the second smallest average September Arctic sea ice extent on record (2.49 million square kilometres average), Europe's warmest September on record (2.33ºC above average) and Earth's 2nd warmest January-September period on record (1.02ºC above average).

Every month so far this year has registered one of the top three highest global surface temperatures on record for that month. January, May and September all matched or beat the previous record.

According to statistical analysis based on the observed global temperatures so far this year, there is a 64.7 percent chance that 2020 will end up being Earth's warmest year on record.

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