Every month University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer report the latest global temperature trends from satellite data. Below are the newest data updated through August, 2012.
Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade
August temperatures (preliminary)
Global composite temp.: +0.34 C (about 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for August.
Northern Hemisphere: +0.38 C (about 0.68 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for August.
Southern Hemisphere: +0.31 C (about 0.56 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for August.
Tropics: +0.26 C (about 0.47 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for August.
Notes on data released Sept. 5, 2012:
Compared to global seasonal norms, August 2012 was the third hottest August in the 34-year satellite temperature record, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The last three Augusts have been three of the four warmest in the past 34 years, trailing only August 1998 — which was during a major El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event.
An El Nino warming event is still evident in the global temperature maps, stretching out across the tropical and southern Pacific Ocean from the west coast of South America, with temperatures in the tropics warming slightly from July through August.
The coldest and hottest spots on the globe (compared to seasonal norms) weren't all that far apart in August: The "warmest" area was in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina, where temperatures were as much as 3.43 C (6.17 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than season norms. The Antarctic winter continues to run colder than normal. Compared to seasonal norms, the "coldest" spot on the globe in August was near the South Pole, with average temperatures as much as 3.38 C (6.08 F) colder than normal for the month.
Go here to see the processed satellite temperature data.