NASA data show the planet’s temperature was 1.7 degrees above the 1951-1980 November average, and just slightly cooler than November 2015 — the record-setter (at 1.8 degrees above average).
While some media commentators misleadingly claimed the Earth’s land temperature recently experienced its greatest drop ever recorded, NASA data show whatever drop there was (because of the transition from El Niño to La Niña) has begun to reverse. In fact, 2016’s average November global land temperature was the warmest on record, 2.3 degrees above average, the data indicate.
An analysis of surface temperatures from Berkeley Earth, an independent team of scientists, also concluded the November average global land temperature was the warmest on record.
The warmth in the Arctic was particularly breathtaking, at one point soaring 36 degrees above normal north of 80 degrees latitude.
Feeding into the Arctic warmth was profoundly depleted sea ice, which hit its lowest extent on record by far, stunning scientists.
The Lower 48 states were also unusually mild, having their second-warmest November on record, which closed off their top warmest meteorological fall.
Because so many of 2016’s months have been record warm or near-record warm for the globe, the year is assured to be the warmest on record, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt declared on Twitter:
Schmidt is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Correction, 9:00 p.m.: The original version of the article inadvertently displayed a time series showing November Antarctic sea ice extent instead of Arctic sea ice extent. This has been corrected and the article now displays a time series of Arctic sea ice extent during November as intended.