September 2012 Climate Digest

September 2012 Climate Digest

September 2012 Climate Digest • iPad Video

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Each month, we will provide information regarding the previous month’s climate. Overall, preliminary data analysis suggests that September 2012 was tied with 2005 as the warmest on record (since 1880).  Major stories include a warm first 9 months for the contiguous United States, warmer than normal Australia, flooding in western Africa, and continued neutral conditions for El Niño and La Niña. More detailed information follows.

Septermber 2012 Highlights

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Highlights Dataset

Dataset Name: 20121023 EarthNow: September 2012 Highlights
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  • This dataset shows some of the major September weather and climate highlights from the National Climatic Data Center’s (NCDC) monthly global climate analysis, and serves as an overview of what can be discussed in the datasets that follow. Highlights are noted below with more information.
  • Contiguous United States: Warmest first nine months (January-September) on record.
  • Alaska: Fifth wettest September on record (since 1918)
  • El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO): Neutral (not El Niño or La Niña) conditions prevailed in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It should be noted, however, that water temperatures in the region are above normal, just not to the El Niño threshold. See the “SST Anomalies Dataset below” to see the data. Click here for more information about ENSO and how it may impact the climate outlook for the coming months.
  • Japan: Record warmth in September with temperatures 3.7˚C (6.7˚F) above average. Southern Japan is not included in this, as a super typhoon impacted that region, affecting temperatures.
  • Australia: Third warmest September maximum (high) temperatures on record (since 1950) (1.94˚C, 3.49˚F above average)
  • Africa: Heavy rainfall and deadly flooding impacted parts of western and central Africa.
  • Hungary: Severe drought impacted parts of central Europe, including Hungary which experienced its worst drought in 20 years.
  • United Kingdom: Coolest September since 1994.
  • Argentina: Warmest September temperatures in 50 years.
  • Arctic Sea Ice: Smallest September extent on record (48.7% below 1979-2000 average)
  • Antarctic Sea Ice: Largest September extent on record (3.5% above 1979-2000 average)
September 2012 Global Temperature Anomalies

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Global Temperature Anomalies Dataset

Dataset Name: 20121023 EarthNow: RT Monthly Temperature Anomalies
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  • Using the real-time Monthly Temperature Anomalies dataset is a great way to convey where some of the warmer and cooler than average areas were in September, including those mentioned above in the highlights.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for September 2012 was tied with 2005 as the warmest on record (since 1880).
  • Please see the “September 2012 (and 2005) Warmest on Record” post for more information.
September 2012 SST Anomalies

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Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Dataset

Dataset Name: 20121023 EarthNow: RT SST Anomalies
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  • The real-time sea surface temperature anomaly dataset is a great way to visualize the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean. This helps show the moderating water waters, indicating the loss of La Niña and potential transition to an ENSO Neutral period.
  • Remember that the blues indicate cooler than average temperatures and reds indicate warmer than average temperatures (white: average).
September 2012 Snow and Ice Cover

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Snow and Ice Cover Dataset

Dataset Name: 20121023 EarthNow: RT Snow and Ice Cover
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  • Aside from helping to illustrate seasonal changes, the real-time Snow and Ice Cover dataset is a great way to convey sea ice change through time, including discussing how the current sea ice extent compares to other noteworthy years.
  • The Arctic sea ice extent in September was the smallest on record. The extent was 48.7% below the 1979-2000 average.
  • In Antarctica, the August sea ice extent was the largest on record, at 3.5% above the 1979-2000 average.
Where do I find the datasets?
  • First, check your SOS system to make sure it’s not already in the EarthNow category.
  • If not, you can download the datasets and playlist files from this FTP Site.
  • Then download and use playlist files at the top of the page (or create your own) and make sure they are in /home/sos/sosrc or /home/sosdemo/sosrc.
Helpful Resources for More Information
Visualizations/Blog: CIMSS, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Script: CICS-MD, University of Maryland
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for September 2012, published online October 2012, retrieved on October 22, 2012 from
Category: Climate Digest
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