April marked the 388th month in a row that the global temperature was warmer than average

By Tom Yulsman | May 18, 2017 2:01 pm

April 2017: 388th consecutive month that was warmer than average.

To find a month when the global average temperature over the land and oceans was below average, you have to go all the way back to December 1984, according to the latest monthly analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Including April 2017, that makes it 388 straight months in which the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average.

Like NASA’s independent analysis released earlier this week, NOAA finds that last month was the second warmest April in records dating back to 1880.

SEE ALSO: The heat goes on: this past April was second warmest in records dating back to 1880 — as were February and March

From NOAA’s monthly global climate report, released today:

Warmer-than-average temperatures during the month were observed across much of the world’s land surfaces, with the most notable warm temperature departures from average across the Northern Hemisphere higher latitudes, specifically across much of central and eastern Asia, Alaska and the eastern half of the contiguous U.S., where temperatures were 3.0°C (5.4°F) above average or higher. Several locations across Russia’s Far East had record warm temperatures during April 2017.

As the following map shows, there were some regions of the globe that experienced cooler than normal temperatures in April:

April 2017 percentiles

Most notable, according to NOAA, was northern Canada. Here temperatures were 3.6°–5.4°F below average or lower.

Even so, no land areas of the globe experience record cold in April.

Over the long run, human-caused global warming has loaded the dice, making unusual warmth much more likely than unusual cold. And that has had palpable impacts.

For example, between 1951 and 1980, much less than 1 percent of the Northern Hemisphere’s land areas experienced extreme heat during summer. By the first decade of the 20th century, extreme summertime heat typically was covering 10 percent of the land areas.

  • Stella Herzig

    get those charts while you can from the NOAA!

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  • OWilson

    A good example of the gobbledygook global warming language, designed to obfuscate real absolute temperature records? :)

    “For example, between 1951 and 1980, much less than 1 percent of the Northern Hemisphere’s land areas experienced extreme heat during summer. By the first decade of the 20th century, extreme summertime heat typically was covering 10 percent of the land areas.”

  • Mike Richardson

    It’s good to see that the NOAA continues to gather and compile this data, though they face a more adverse political climate these days. While it may seem “gobbledygook” to the willfully ignorant, this information makes the case for meaningful action ever more compelling, quantifying for the rational minded how quickly drastic changes to our climate are occurring. Alas, knowledge is only as good as one’s willingness to accept it.

  • OWilson

    The problem with true believers is they take their “knowledge” from their priests, without question.

    The example I gave, the contorted language below (as long as it sounds bad) does not even have to make sense.

    “between 1951 and 1980, much less than 1 percent of the Northern Hemisphere’s land areas experienced extreme heat during summer. By the first decade of the 20th century, extreme summertime heat typically was covering 10 percent of the land areas”.

    So the FIRST decade of the 20th Century, 1900 to 1910 was experiencing 10% extreme heat, and 1951 to 1980, only less than 1%?

    Ah, true believers, they’ll even insult those who point out the truth as “willfully ignorant”, and that is what makes them dangerous, if they get political power.

  • Mike Richardson

    “True believers,” reject knowledge that doesn’t confirm to their own ossified view of the world , and project their small and fearful views on others. Such puppets to radical ideology are typically victims of personality defects, incapable of recognizing in themselves the traits they attribute to and exaggerate in others. The fact is, earth is warming , we are causing it, and the true believers are those who ignore the preponderance of scientific fact to cling to radical science-denying political ideology. The discerning reader should always take note of the ideologues, and reject their hyperbolic rejection of science. Not that anyone here would engage in such ridiculous behavior. 😉

    • OWilson

      When you bury your chicken little head in the sand, and refuse to acknowledge the error in the “science” in the article, as pointed out below, you are either blind, not intelligent enough to understand what was written, or are happy to accept anything you are told.

      Good science, or even world peace, can never advance with such attitudes!

      • Mike Richardson

        Well, someone’s strings got pulled again. ;). Since you feel compelled to respond, I’ll give you the courtesy of a reply. Your “issue” is over an apparent typo, of the type you yourself made in the past when you mistakenly claimed to have lived through World War I instead World War II. But why don’t we clear it up?

        Tom, if you happen to read these comments, would you please clarify the last sentence of your article? From the source material you referenced, it appears you meant to say “the first decade of 21st century,” unless you had some other source of oddly discrepant information. I’m sure it won’t stop the accusations of fake news, but it might avoid confusing other readers if you addressed this. Thanks.

        Now Wilson, was the extent of your argument against climate science a typo and projection, or did you have some other point to make? :)

        • OWilson

          Well, I suppose an apology, for being labelled “willfully ignorant” for simply pointing out a confusing statement, which you yourself have now taken up with the author as”confusing”. is out of the question? LOL

          I want to leave the two of you to figure it out together so I’m now done here (for now) :)

          By the way while we are on the subject of confusing language, it is not appropriate to call a “denier” a “true believer”. see Global Warming 101.

          If you want to argue about that, just ask any kid in the street! :)

          Or you can try a thesaurus, (see synonyms/antonyms).

          • Mike Richardson

            Now why do you assume I was referring to you? Maybe I’m generalizing as you so often do. But I’d hardly be limited to your fixation on a typo if I were being more specific. And the label “denier,” applies pretty well to your approach regarding facts that conflict with your rigid right-wing ideology, which you do hold fast to with the fervency of a religious ” true believer. ” Not that complicated, really. :)

          • OWilson

            Only to you, apparently! :)

          • Mike Richardson

            I’m not the one who thinks reference books are needed to understand how you can deny one reality, and be a true believer in an alternative reality. Proving once again that your compulsion to have the last word continues to override any notion that it should make sense. Please continue to demonstrate.

          • OWilson

            You’re reduced to rambling again!

            But I’m always here for you, Mikey! :)

  • John C

    So, how do we deal with the problem and maintain the current rate of global economic growth? It can’t be done with wind and solar alone as the left would have you believe, that’s for sure. They’re against everything else, but offer as a solution the two technologies that supply a mere 4% of our current energy needs. Time to be realistic.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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