November 2018 Global Temperature Update

November 2018 Global Temperature Update

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November 2018 global temperature, at 0.77°C relative to the 1951-1980 base period, tied with 2010 as the fifth warmest November since reliable data began in 1880.  Most people, however, care more about the temperature where they live.  For people in North America, except those on the West Coast, November was cold (see map).

Does the cold November in North America portend a cold winter?  Curiously, Northern Hemisphere temperature patterns were nearly identical in 2014 and 2018.  So let’s look at the months that followed in 2014 (maps below).  December and January were unusually warm in 2015, but wham, frigid air arrived for February (we remember)!

Middle and high latitude winter climate is notoriously noisy (variable).  However, we know that a moderate El Nino has begun.  This knowledge increases the odds of making a good forecast.  El Nino winters are commonly, but not always, marked by higher than normal temperature stretching from Alaska in a southeasterly direction across the Canadian/U.S. border into the middle U.S., but not always reaching all the way to the Southeast U.S.

So, considering also the effects of global warming, if you are a betting person (we are not) you would have an excellent chance of being right if you bet that the winter as a whole in the U.S. is going to be warmer than normal (1951-1980) climatology.  But month-to-month?  Make your own guess.

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A PDF of this temperature update is available: http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/Emails/November2018.pdf