MONDAY’S STUDY: The Climate Crisis Detailed
Global Climate Report - Annual 2019
December 2019 (National Centers for Environmental Information/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
The year 2019 was the second warmest year in the 140-year record, with a global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average of +0.95°C (+1.71°F). This value is only 0.04°C (0.07°F) less than the record high value of +0.99°C (+1.78°F) set in 2016 and 0.02°C (0.04°F) higher than the now third highest value set in 2015 (+0.93°C / +1.67°F). The five warmest years in the 1880–2019 record have all occurred since 2015, while nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005. The year 1998 currently ranks as the 10 warmest year on record. The year 2019 marks the 43rd consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th century average.
The year began in a weak-to-moderate El Niño, transitioning to ENSO-neutral conditions by July. During the year, each monthly temperature ranked among the five warmest for their respective months on record, with the months of June and July record warm. The global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and over twice that rate (+0.18°C / +0.32°F) since 1981.
Ten Warmest Years (1880–2019)
The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record.
The following information was compiled from previous NCEI monitoring reports and public reports by National Hydrometeorological Services (NHMSs; peers of the U.S. National Weather Service).
The year 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across most of the global land and ocean surfaces. Record high annual temperatures over land surfaces were measured across parts of central Europe, Asia, Australia, southern Africa, Madagascar, New Zealand, North America, and eastern South America. Record high sea surface temperatures were observed across parts of all oceans, specifically, parts of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and areas of northern, central and southwestern Pacific Ocean. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. North America was the only continent that did not have an annual temperature that ranked among its three highest on record. Overall, North America's temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 1910–2000 average, marking the 14th warmest year in the 110-year continental record. The yearly temperature for North America has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is more than twice as great (+0.29°C / +0.52°F per decade) since 1981.
During January 2019, several locations across Canada set new low maximum and minimum January temperature records at the end of the month as cold Arctic air affected the region. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, maximum temperatures during this time did not rise above the -25.0°C (-13.0°F) mark. Of note, Lansdowne House (Ontario) set a new low minimum temperature on January 27 when temperatures plummeted to -47.5°C (-53.5°F), exceeding the previous record set in 1957 (-38.9°C / -38.0°F). Please see the U.S. national annual report for information on the 2019 climate conditions across the U.S.
According to Mexico's CONAGUA, the months of June through November (no December 2019 data was available at the time of this write-up) had a temperature that ranked among the four highest for their respective months. Of note, August 2019 was the warmest August on record for the nation with a temperature departure from average of +3.3°C (+5.9°F). The national temperature for the months of March and May were among the ten warmest for their respective months on record.
South America had its second warmest year on record with a temperature departure from average of +1.24°C (+2.23°F). This value is only 0.19°C (0.34°F) cooler than the record-warm year in 2015. South America's five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2014. The yearly temperature for South America has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is nearly double that value (+0.24°C / +0.43°F per decade) since 1981.
Argentina's national temperature for the year was 0.3°C (0.5°F) above the 1981–2010 average and ranked as the 12th highest temperature since national records began in 1961.
A heat wave impacted much of Chile during January 24–27, 2019, with several locations registering temperatures as high as 40.0°C (104.0°F). The city of Santiago set a new maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 38.3°C (100.9°F) on January 27. Santiago's previous record was set in 2017 at 37.4°C (99.3°F).
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Brazil also had a heat wave that affected the southeastern part of the country during January 2019. Several locations recorded temperatures above 30.0°C (86.0°F). Of particular interest, Rio de Janeiro had registered a temperature of 37.4°C (99.3°F)—the second hottest temperature for the station since 1961.
Following Europe's record warm year in 2018, the year 2019 was also very warm, ranking as the second warmest on record and just 0.04°C (0.07°F) cooler than 2018. The years 2014 through 2019 all rank among Europe's six warmest years on record. Europe's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.14°C (0.25°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has more than tripled to 0.46°C (0.83°F) since 1981.
Warmer-than-average conditions were present across much of western and central Europe during late February, with several locations setting new February maximum temperature records. For the first time, the United Kingdom recorded a maximum temperature over 20.0°C (68.0°F) during a winter month. The maximum temperature of 21.2°C (70.2°F) was set on February 26, 2019 at Kew Gardens, London. A new Swedish maximum temperature for February was set on the 26th when temperatures rose to 16.7°C (62.1°F) in Karlshamn. This value surpassed the previous record of 16.5°C (61.7°F) set in Ölvingstorp and Västervik, Smaland on February 18, 1961. The Netherlands observed its highest February maximum temperature since national records began in 1901. On February 26, 2019, maximum temperatures reached 18.9°C (66.0°F) in De Bilt. Austria set a new national maximum temperature record on February 28, 2019 when temperatures soared to 24.2°C (75.6°F) in Güssing and Deutschlandsberg. This value exceeded the previous record set on February 29, 1960 by 0.6°C (1.1°F).
According to Météo France, nine of 12 months in 2019 were warmer than average in France, with only May experiencing cooler-than-average temperatures. Overall, this was France's third warmest year since national records began in 1900 at 1.1°C (2.0°F) above the 1981–2010 average of 12.6°C (54.7°F). Only 2018 (+1.4°C / +2.5°F) and 2014 (+1.2°C / +2.2°F) were warmer. Nine of France's 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000; with the five warmest years taking place since 2011. During 2019, France was affected by two severe heat waves during June and July, which resulted in a new national high maximum temperature being set in southern France on June 28, 2019 at 46.0°C (114.8°F). This value was 1.9°C (3.4°F) higher than the previous record and marked the first time maximum temperatures surpassed 45.0°C (113.0°F) in the country.
Austria had its third warmest year since national records began in 1767, with a national temperature departure from average of +1.6°C (+2.9°F). Only the years of 2018 and 2014 were warmer. According to Austria's ZAMG, the 14 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1994.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom set new national July temperature records. Germany's temperature of 42.6°C (108.7°F) on July 25 became the new national temperature record for July, breaking the previous record of 40.3°C (104.5°F) set on July 5, 2015 by 2.3°C (4.1°F). The Netherlands' new national all-time maximum temperature of 40.7°C (105.3°F) set on July 25 in Gilze-Rijen surpassed a 75-year-old record of 38.8°C (101.8°F) set on August 23, 1944 by 0.5°C (0.9°F). This marked the first time that temperatures exceeded 40.0°C (104.0°F) in The Netherlands. Norway recorded a maximum temperature of 35.6°C (96.1°F) at Laksfors, tying the national maximum temperature record set on June 20, 1970 at Nesbyen (Buskerud). Saltdal recorded a maximum temperature of 34.6°C (94.3°F)—the highest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, according to Météo France. Similarly, Sweden had a maximum temperature of 34.8°C (94.6°F) in the Markusvinsa on July 26—the nation's highest temperature on record north of the Arctic Circle.
With a yearly continental average temperature of 1.33°C (2.39°F) above average, Africa had its third warmest year in the 110-year record, trailing behind 2016 (warmest) and 2010 (second warmest). Africa's five warmest years have all occurred since 2015. Africa's annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade since 1910; however, it has more than doubled to 0.31°C (0.56°F) since 1981.
Asia had its third warmest year on record, with a temperature of 1.68°C (3.02°F) above the 1910–2000 average. Only the years 2015 and 2017 were warmer. Asia's five warmest years have all taken place since 2007. Asia's trend during the 1910–2019 period was +0.16°C (+0.29°F) per decade; however, the 1981–2019 trend is twice the longer-term trend (+0.35°C / +0.63°F).
Hong Kong had its warmest year, with the highest maximum (27.1°C / 80.8°F), minimum (22.6°C / 72.7°F), and mean (24.5°C / 76.1°F) temperatures since records began in 1884. According to Japan's Meteorological Agency, Japan set a new May national maximum temperature record when temperatures soared to 39.5°C (103.1°F) on May 26, 2019 in Saroma (located on the island of Hokkaido). This value surpassed the previous May record of 37.2°C (99.0°F), set in May 1993, by 2.3°C (4.14°F). Thirty-six stations across Japan set new all-time maximum temperature records. Of note, the station in Obihiro set a new all-time high temperature of 38.8°C (101.8°F), exceeding the previous record of July 12, 1924 by 1.0°C (1.8°F).
Israel experienced a heat wave that brought record-breaking temperatures during May 22–24. Several locations saw temperatures soar to between 43.0°–45.0°C (109°–113°F). According to Israel's Meteorological Services, the most intense heat was observed on the 24th when maximum temperatures rose to 45°–48°C (113.0°–118.0°F) in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea area, and northern Arava. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Sedom, Israel, had a maximum temperature of 49.9°C (121.8°F) on July 17, Israel's highest temperature since at least 1942.
Oceania had its warmest year on record at 1.40°C (2.52°F) above average. This value is 0.04°C (0.07°F) warmer than the now second warmest year on record set in 2013. Oceania's five warmest year have all occurred since 2005. The 1910–2019 trend for Oceania was +0.12°C (+0.22°F) per decade; however, the trend is twice that during the 1981–2018 period (+0.22°C / +0.40°F per decade).
Australia had its warmest year in the nation's 110-year record with a temperature departure from average of 1.52°C (2.74°F) above the 1961–1990 average. This exceeded the previous record of 1.33°C (2.39°F) set in 2013 by 0.19°C (0.34°F). The nation's maximum temperature was also the highest on record at 2.09°C (3.76°F) above average, while the minimum temperature (+0.95°C / +1.71°F) was the sixth highest on record. An intense heat wave affected Australia throughout much of January, with many locations setting new high maximum and minimum January temperature records. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, the nation's mean temperature reached 40.0°C (104.0°F) for five consecutive days (12–16 January 2019), exceeding the previous record of two consecutive days set in 1972 and again in 2013.
New Zealand had its fourth warmest year on record with a national average temperature of 13.37°C (56.07°F). This was 0.76°C (1.37°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Only the years of 2016 (warmest) and 2018 and 1998 (tied second warmest) were warmer.
As indicated by the Global Percent of Normal Precipitation and Precipitation Percentiles maps below and as is typical, many stations were wet for the year, while many stations were dry. Also, as discussed below, extreme precipitation and drought events occurred across the world…
Ocean Heat Content
Ocean Heat Content (OHC) is essential for understanding and modeling global climate since > 90% of excess heat in the Earth's system is absorbed by the ocean. Further, expansion due to increased ocean heat contributes to sea level rise. Change in OHC is calculated from the difference of observed temperature profiles from the long-term mean…