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Record high temperatures persist in Southern Hemisphere

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 April 2010

NASA reports that record high temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere persisted into March 2010, following the warmest summer (Dec-Feb) on record there – and its hottest year on record in 2009.  NASA data indicates that globally, surface temperatures were the second highest on record in March.

Global surface temperature anomalies, March 2010. Source: NASA GISS

The data, released by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, shows that the land-ocean temperature index for the Southern Hemisphere was 0.62oC above the 1951-1980 mean for March.  The previous March record, set in 2002, was 0.61oC above the mean.  Globally, March surface temperatures were 0.84oC above the global mean for 1951-1980 of 14oC.  The warmest March on record globally, March 2002, was 0.85oC.

These differences between March 2002 and March 2010 are very small both globally and for the Southern Hemisphere.  The bottom line: March 2002 and 2010 are the hottest on record for the globe overall and for the Southern Hemisphere.

The temperature anomalies were particularly large and positive in the Arctic and Antarctic, Canada and the northern U.S., Scandinavia, and in the area stretching roughly from Tibet to the Atlantic waters off the coast of West Africa (see figure above).

One of the few areas with large negative temperature anomalies was the Bering Sea, where sea-ice extent was above normal.

Among the notable positive temperature anomalies in March were in the eastern tropical Atlantic – the Main Development Region for Atlantic hurricanes.  Sea surface temperatures there were at record levels for March.  Should the anomalies persist into the hurricane season, there will be more energy available for the formation of hurricanes.  The high temperatures – along with an anticipated fading of the current El Nino in the tropical Pacific – is cited by experts who anticipate a relatively active hurricane season (1 June through 30 November) in 2010.

Source: WWF

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