December Climate Digest



Each month, we will provide information regarding the previous month’s climate. December 2014’s average global land and ocean temperature was the warmest since records began, with December joining five other months in 2014 to set new monthly high temperature records and establishing 2014 as the warmest year on record.


Highlights Dataset

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: December 2014 Highlights

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: AUDIO December 2014 Highlights


This dataset shows some of the major December 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.


  • Australia: Observed their sixth warmest December in their 105-year record.
  • Russia: Warmer than average temperatures, especially in western and central Russia withe the warming in central Russia where temperatures departures were 5°C or higher.
  • Austria: December 2014 was on of the 15 warmest Decembers in the nation’s 247-year period of record.
  • Argentina: Central and northern parts of Argentina ecperienced wetter-than-average conditions during December. Certian locations recieved nearly double the monthly precipitation totals.
  • United States: December 2014 was the second warmest since records began. Every state in the Lower 48 was warmer than average with nine states in the West, Southern Plains, and North East ranking in the top ten warmest. Several winter storms brought heavy precipitation to the U.S. west Coast in December, putting a dent in California’s long-term precipitation deficits. According to the U.S. drought monitor, drought conditions improved in parts of the West and Southeast, but worsened in parts of the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley.
  • Alaska: Fifth warmest December was experienced since records began in 1918.
  • Typhoon Hagupit: Hagupit reached Super Typhoon strength(Category 5) on December 4th. and made landfall on the Philippines as a Category 3 storm. Heavy rainfall and strong winds associated with the massive slow moving storm affected thousands and caused several fatalities.

Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Dataset

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: December 2014 SST Anomaly

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: AUDIO December 2014 SST Anomaly



  • The real-time sea surface temperature anomaly dataset is a great way to visualize the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • The average December temperature for the global waters was the third highest for the month, at 1.36°C (2.45°F) above the 20th century average.
  • Remember blues indicate cooler than average temperatures and reds indicate warmer than average temperatures (white: average).

Snow and Ice Cover Dataset

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: December 2014 Snow and Ice Cover

Dataset: 20150121 EarthNow: AUDIO December 2014 Snow and Ice Cover



  • 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 for December 2014 was 4.1% below the 1981-2010 average, making it the ninth smallest December sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979.
  • In Antarctica, the sea ice extent was 9.8% above the 1981-2010 average, the fourth largest on record for the month of December.



Seasonal Outlooks

Be sure to check out the 3-month seasonal outlooks for February – April.

  • Global Temperature Outlook
  • Global Precipitation Outlook
  • U.S. Drought Outlook
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.
      • More detailed information here
Helpful Resources for More Information
EarthNow Team
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for August 2014, published online September 2014, retrieved on September 29, 2014 from


Category: Climate Digest


Leave a Reply