- Warm and cold temperature anomalies for April 2011. (NOAA)
The recent April weather was much warmer worldwide than the historical average, according to a new assessment from NOAA. D.C. denizens had more opportunities to be gross and sweaty during the month, too, with temperatures about 3 degrees above the average. That's due to a persistent cloud cover that hovered over virtually every day of the month.
This April was the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1880, according to a report from the National Climatic Data Center. The global average temperature on land and ocean was 57.8 degrees, a tick above the twentieth-century average of 56.7 degrees. The assessment has a margin of error of +/- 0.13.
The shrinking ice cube that is the Arctic also experienced (relative) hot flashes. The extent of the Arctic sea ice was 5.7 percent below average, making it the fifth-smallest April ice sheet since satellites started tracking the poles in 1979. The sea ice around Antarctica was the fourth smallest on record for any April, at 7.7 percent below average.
Places where it was extra warm include the southern U.S., northern Mexico, central South America, Siberia and Europe. The U.K. sweated through its warmest April on record (measured using average temperatures) and Germany had its second-warmest April ever, “ever” being since record-keeping began in 1881. If you wanted to dodge the heat last month, you should've headed to areas with abnormally cool temperatures like Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, western Canada, southwestern Greenland and most of Australia.
Locally? April in D.C. was characterized by sticky, soggy air that averaged 58.8 degrees throughout the month, a positive abnormality of 2.7 degrees. There was also about half an inch more rain than usual. That makes sense when you note the number of days with partial cloud cover (15) and full cloud cover (14). Fog was also reported on 14 days.
It looks like the clouds are likely behind D.C.'s temperature spike this April. "We did have plenty of cloudy days, but then the clouds also do keep the temperatures up at night" by locking in the daytime heat, says ABC7's Bob Ryan.
(Interested in climate-change stuff? Here's climate blogger Joe Romm recent chat with Bruce DePuyt on NewsTalk.)