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Record Global Temperatures in March; Arctic Sea Ice Reaches its Maximum Extent on the Latest Date since 1979.
04/27/2010 | Marilyn Sigman, Alaska SeaGrant/MAP
Tags: Climate Change, Weather Patterns, Changing Arctic Sea Ice, Arctic Ocean

maximum arctic sea ice
NOAA reported that several records were set by March, 2010 temperatures:
    • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record at 56.3°F (13.5°C), which is 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average of 54.9°F (12.7°C).
    • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was the highest for any March on record –1.01°F (0.56°C) above the 20th century average of 60.7°F (15.9°C).
    • Separately, the global land surface temperature was 2.45°F (1.36°C) above the 20th century average of 40.8 °F (5.0°C) — the fourth warmest on record. Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, especially in northern Africa, South Asia and Canada. Cooler-than-normal regions included Mongolia and eastern Russia, northern and western Europe, Mexico, northern Australia, western Alaska and the southeastern United States.
    • El Niño weakened to moderate strength in March, but it contributed significantly to the warmth in the tropical belt and the overall ocean temperature. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, El Niño is expected to continue its influence in the Northern Hemisphere at least through the spring.
    • For the year-to-date, the combined global land- and ocean-surface temperature of 55.3°F (13.0°C) was the fourth warmest for a January-March period. This value is 1.19°F (0.66°C) above the 20th century average.
More about this news item and more current temperature trend information

Source: State of the Climate Report. NOAA National Climate Center

The National Sea Ice Data Center reported that Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 31, 2010, at 15.25 million square kilometers (5.89 million square miles). This was the latest date for the maximum Arctic sea ice extent since the start of the satellite record in 1979. The extent of ice was below the average for the March during the period 1979-2000, but above the record low that occurred in 2006. The ice extent was above normal for the Bering Sea but below normal over much of the Atlantic sector of the Arctic.

The maximum Arctic sea ice extent may occur as early as mid-February to as late as the last week of March. As the sea ice approaches its maximum, the extent can vary quite a bit from day to day because the thin, new ice at the edge of the pack is sensitive to local wind and temperature patterns. Late season growth in March was driven mainly by cold weather and winds from the north over the Bering and Barents Seas. Temperatures over the central Arctic Ocean remained above normal and the winter ice cover remained young and thin compared to earlier years.

More about this news item and more current reports on Arctic sea ice patterns

Source: Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis, NSIDC

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