NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency agree that August was the warmest on record. NASA puts August’s global temperature at 0.7 degrees Celsius above the 1951-1980 average, while the JMA, which compares temperatures to a more recent period, reports August was 0.32 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average.
Oceans were particularly warm in August, driving up the thermometer. The world’s oceans were running 0.65 degrees Celsius above average in August, according to NOAA, which is a record high anomaly for all months. This record was just previously set in June of this year.
The western equatorial Pacific remained much warmer than normal in August, though the warm ocean anomaly El Nino has not yet developed as expected this year. In addition, a large swath of the Indian Ocean was also anomalously warm.
Over land, the high latitudes were incredibly warm compared to normal, in Siberia in particular. The sizzling heat in the western U.S. and Mexico drove up the temperature for the JMA analysis, while the eastern U.S. was cooler than average in all three analyses.
The summer and August records may come as a surprise to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S., which were running cooler than normal according to both NASA and NOAA. Washington, D.C. rounded out August slightly below average, and cooler in the suburbs.
In the analysis of satellite-measured temperatures done by the University of Alabama at Huntsville, August 2014 was the 9th warmest on record, while August 1998 remains the warmest. These satellite records go back to 1978.
According to NOAA’s records, this is the 38th consecutive August and 354th consecutive month with a global average temperature above the 20th century average.