February 2017 Global Temperature Update


Global temperature declined during 2016, with global temperature lagging Nino3.4 temperature by a few months (Fig. 1), as usual.  However, temperature in January and February 2017 was unusually high, Jan-Feb 2017 being the second warmest Jan-Feb (after 2016).

Although the tropical SST has been in ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) neutral conditions for the past several months (i.e., Nino3.4 between -0.5C and +0.5C), Nino3.4 temperature has begun to rise, indicating likely return to at least a weak El Nino in 2017.  Given the warming tropics and the low sea ice cover in both hemispheres, we infer that 2017 will be another unusually warm year, extending long-term global warming trends.

Globally both February 2017 and Northern Hemisphere winter were the second warmest since reliable measurements started in 1880 (Fig. 2).  In February the Eastern U.S. and a part of Siberia were extremely warm.