Sweating and panting right on the heels of the second warmest summer in U.S. history came a frantically feverish October, according to a new analysis from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. While temperatures over land and sea made the month the eighth hottest on record, land temperatures alone were 1.98 degrees Fahrenheit above average, establishing the month as the second warmest October ever monitored. (Margin of error: plus/minus 0.20 degrees.)
Regions that had prime spots under the heat lamp include Alaska, Canada and most of Europe and Russia. Especially Russia: As evident in the above map from NOAA (larger), the mercury there crept up to 9 degrees above average. The extent of the Arctic sea ice was also exceedingly limited at 23.5 percent below average; NOAA ranks the ice shelf as the second smallest for an October since records began in 1979. The effects of a persevering La Niña helped keep the waters of the Pacific Ocean cool in places, although parts of the north Pacific steamed up to above-normal temperatures.
How did the U.S. shape up, specifically?
The analysis doesn't get into that, but according to a previous release by the climate center:
During October, a persistent upper-level weather pattern brought below-normal temperatures to the southeastern United States and above-normal temperatures from the Southwest, across the northern tier of the United States, and into parts of the Northeast. Near-normal precipitation during October across the Southern Plains made little change in long-term drought conditions. The drought stricken areas of the Southern Plains still need at least 18 inches of rain in a single month to end the on-going drought.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency has warned that earthlings have just five years to limit the release of greenhouse gas before we all get "trapped in a scenario of perilous climate change and extreme weather events." What wonderful times we live in.