June was the hottest month on record for the ocean

GCDC oceanThe  oceans in June may have set an all-time heat record, according to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The global average sea surface temperature may have topped 17 °C for the first time in any month of any year since 1880.

The NOAA State of the Climate analysis reported that last month was the warmest June on the planet since records began, thanks in large part to ocean warmth. It was the 7th warmest June on land but the warmest June in the ocean, with the highest departure from normal recorded in the dataset for any month.

The temperature of 17.04°C should be seen as an estimate, given the challenge of defining “normal” for the oceans. However, we can still say with some confidence June may have been the warmest month for the ocean since these records began.

The record ocean warmth is seen particularly in the tropical Pacific, where currents, winds and temperature measurements have scientists forecasting a possible El Nino event.

2 thoughts on “June was the hottest month on record for the ocean

  1. You don’t mention that this record is for the global average sea surface temperature until you say its for something else twice. I.e. your title says the record is “for the ocean”, and your first sentence says “the oceans…” Things become more confusing even after you mention that the record you are talking about is the “global average sea surface temperature”, because you then go on about “ocean warmth”, “the warmest June in the ocean”, etc.

    The argument made by deniers that “Earth is cooling” since 1998 or whatever year they pick depends on just this type of confusion.

    • Yes, I was using the imprecise shorthand ocean so the headline could fit. The possible record I mention is for sea surface temperatures. Granted, June may also have been a record for total ocean heat content (to 700m or to 2000 m); the data for OHC takes longer to compile, so right now NOAA only has up to March. You can see it here:

      http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/index1.html

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