August 2012 was the fourth-warmest August globally since 1880 and the 330th consecutive month in which temperatures worldwide were above the 20th-century average, the U.S. National Climatic Data Center said.
The average temperature on land and over the ocean was 61.2 degrees Fahrenheit (16.2 Celsius), 1.1 degree above the century’s average, the agency said today.
“Most areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including far northeastern North America, central and Southern Europe, and east-central Asia,” the agency said. “In the Arctic, sea ice extent averaged 1.82 million square miles, resulting in the all-time lowest August sea ice extent on record.”
The last time the global temperature was below the 20th century’s average was February 1985, and the last time there was a cooler-than-average August was 1976, said the agency, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the Arctic, the six smallest amounts of sea ice have been recorded in the past six years.
Melting in the Arctic is expected to continue through the middle of September.
In the Antarctic, sea ice during August was 1.6 percent about average, the fourth most extensive level for the month in the 34 years since records have been kept, the agency said.
It’s currently winter in the Southern Hemisphere.