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September 2014 was the warmest-ever September

Comparison to AIRS average September temperatures shows warmer and colder regions

September 2014 was the warmest-ever September

September 2014 global surface temperature differences from the 2003-2014 average September temperature, as measured by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the Aqua satellite.

September 2014 was the warmest-ever September



Both the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in October that the September 2014 land and ocean global temperature was the highest ever measured for the month of September.  A primary cause of the new monthly record was warm ocean temperatures over much of the Pacific Ocean. The September 2014 NASA data were discussed by Climate Central.


NOAA reported:

“The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was the highest on record for September, at 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F).”

“The global land surface temperature was 0.89°C (1.60°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F), the sixth highest for September on record. For the ocean, the September global sea surface temperature was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 16.2°C (61.1°F), the highest on record for September and also the highest on record for any month.”


Another way to look at the September 2014 global temperature is with data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument, carried in orbit by the Aqua satellite. Using the Giovanni-4 system, which is in development at the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC), the AIRS Version 6 global surface air temperature data for September 2014 was compared to the average September global surface air temperature for the AIRS mission thus far (2003-2014). GES DISC scientist Feng Ding used the “user-defined climatology” analysis option in Giovanni-4 to create the September average global surface air temperature. He then used the NASA software package, Panoply (available from the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, GISS), to show the differences between the September 2014 temperatures and the September average temperatures.


In the plot of temperature differences (full-size version), warmer areas that are indicated by yellow and red hues cover much more of the Earth’s surface than do colder areas, which are indicated by blue. The Pacific Ocean and Antarctica are two areas with notably warmer temperatures. “Hot spots” are also seen in eastern Siberia and southwestern Australia. Much of North America, western Russia, and central Africa are colder than the AIRS mission average surface air temperature for September.


So, both the long-term standard of instrumental data dating back to the 1880s, as recorded by NOAA and NASA , and the 21st-century satellite-derived average temperatures, as measured by AIRS, indicate September 2014 was a warm month. 


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Last updated: Nov 14, 2014 08:34 AM ET