Average global temperatures for the past winter were the highest since record keeping began in 1880, according to a summary released by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), a branch of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The State of the Climate Summary Information indicated record-high average global temperatures for both the season (December to February) and year to date (January and February). In February, the average Arctic sea ice extent measured 370,000 square miles, the third-smallest February extent since records began in 1979, and 6.2 percent below the 1981-to-2010 average.
Warmer-than-normal conditions have been reported in Central and South America, most of Africa, large sections of Russia, the western United States, and a large portion of the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Cooler-than-average temperatures and heavy snowfall were reported in the eastern United States and Canada. Additionally, in February, the Northern Hemisphere had 230,000 square miles more snow cover than the 1981-to-2010 average.
Besides the East Coast, the report highlights three other climatic anomalies from the past winter. Australia reported its second-warmest average February temperature (3.01 degrees Fahrenheit above the 1961-to-1990 average), and Norway had one of the five warmest Februaries since record keeping began in 1900. Spain, another outlier, was among the few countries with a cooler-than-average temperature in February, at 2 degrees Fahrenheit below the 1981-to-2010 average.