It’s been a wild year on planet Earth – and the hottest one ever recorded.
But climate change is a lot more complex than just some global thermometer ticking upward.
It rearranges the whole system – so an uptick of a degree around the world can mean as much as 36 degrees in key areas for the health of our planet, like the Arctic, while other places will actually deal with weather a bit cooler than usual.
Each month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) releases a list of some of the most significant trends in the climate from the past month.
Here are some of the most drastic things that took place this October:
- The global average temperature was 1.31 degrees Farenheit above the 20th-Century average of 57.1 – tied with 2003 for the third hottest October ever recorded. In the Arctic, 980,000 square miles of sea ice (an area larger than Texas and Alaska combined) went missing. That left Earth with a whopping 28.5% less Arctic ice than the 1981-2010 average, or the lowest levels ever recorded. The Antarctic saw sea ice levels that were 290,000 square miles below average – 4% below the 1981-2010 average, or the second-lowest October ever. The continental US experienced its third-warmest October in the 122-year record. Alaska experienced its driest October since records began in 1925. Finland experienced its driest October since national records began in 1961 and Norway experienced its fourth-driest since records began in 1900. Asia was actually cooler than usual – experiencing the 39th coolest October in the 107-year continental record. Africa, however, had its second-warmest October ever. Australia was also a bit cooler than average, falling in the bottom third of Octobers on record. South America experienced its 15th-warmest October on record. And then of course, there was Hurricane Matthew.
The NOAA put out this graphic rounding up all the climate news.