Gauteng and NW Province

Abnormally hot for May?

State of the Climate Global Analysis March 2012

National Climatic Data Center

The land surface temperatures across the globe were either extremely warm or cool during March 2012, particularly across the Northern Hemisphere’s middle and higher-latitudes. The most notable warmer-than-average land surface temperatures were observed across most of Canada, the contiguous United States, Mexico, Argentina, Europe, and parts of northern and central Russia. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average temperatures were observed across parts of the globe as well, with the most notable anomalies across most of Australia, Alaska, and western and eastern Russia. When averaging the global land-only surface temperatures, March 2012 was 0.73°C above the 20th century average of 5°C —the coolest land-only March temperature anomaly since 2003 and the 18th warmest March in the 133-year record. Several national highlights are found below:

    • The contiguous United States had an mean temperature of 10.6°C in March 2012, which was 4.8°C  above the 20th century average, marking the warmest March since national records began in 1895.
    • According to the United Kingdom (UK) Met Office, the UK recorded a mean temperature anomaly of 2.5°C above the 1971–2000 average—the warmest March since 1957 and the third warmest March since national records began in 1910. Separately, the countries that compose the United Kingdom experienced their top four warmest March on record. England had its third warmest March, Wales had its second warmest, Scotland had its warmest (tied with 1938), and Northern Ireland had its fourth warmest March in the 103-year record.
    • Spain experienced warmer-than-average temperatures during March 2012. According to Spain’s National Agency of Meteorology, the March 2012 national mean temperature was 11.6°C which was 1.0°C above the 1971–2000 average.
    • Denmark reported a mean temperature of 5.7°C during March 2012, which is 3.6°C above the 1961–1990 average. According to Denmark’s Meteorological Institute, March 2012 ranked as the fourth warmest March since national records began in 1874. The years 1990 and 2007 (6.1°C) tied as the warmest March on record for Denmark and 1938 (6.0°C) ranked as third warmest March on record.
    • Norway as a whole had its warmest March since national records began in 1900, according to Norway’s Institute of Meteorology. March 2012 temperature anomaly was 4.3°C above average.
    • Austria recorded a temperature anomaly of 2.8°C above average. This was the third warmest March since national records began in 1767, according to Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics.
    • Warmer-than-average temperatures plagued Finland during March 2012. According to the Finish Meteorological Institute, Finland’s mean temperature was -3.0°C which is 1.9°C above average. On March 22nd, the Aland Islands recorded a maximum temperature of 15.8°C , the fourth highest March temperature in the past 50 years in the nation, behind March dates in 1990, 2002, and 2007.
    • According to Germany’s Weather Service, Germany as a whole had a mean March temperature of 6.9°C, which is 3.4°C above the 1961–1990 average—the third warmest March since national records began in 1881, behind 1989 and 1938.
    • In Antarctica, the South Pole station reported above-average temperatures during March 2012, with an average temperature of -51.2°C, which is 2.8°C above average. On March 8th, a new daily maximum temperature record was set when temperatures soared to -32.3°C \, surpassing the previous record of -33.9°C set in 1965.

A snapshot of global ocean temperatures during March 2012 indicate that warmer-than-average temperatures were observed across the North Atlantic, north-central Pacific Ocean, and across the mid-latitude southern oceans. Meanwhile, cooler-than-average conditions were present across the northeastern and central Pacific Ocean, parts of southern Atlantic Ocean, and across the higher-latitudes of the southern oceans.

March 2012 Precipitation Anomalies in Millimeters

    • According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Australia experienced wetter-than-average conditions across most of the nation. Averaged as a whole, the continent received a total of 108.7 mm (4.3 inches), which is 77 percent above the 1961–1990 average precipitation and the fourth wettest March in the nation’s 113-year precipitation record. The state of Victoria had its wettest March since 1950 and the fourth wettest March on record, with 103.5 mm (4.1 inches) (152 percent above average). New South Wales had its second wettest March, with 119.6 mm (4.8 inches) (144 percent above average).
    • The United Kingdom received a total of 36.4 mm (1.5 inches) of precipitation during March 2012. This was the driest March since 1953 and the fifth driest since national records began in 1910.
    • According to Spain’s National Agency of Meteorology, Spain experienced drier-than-average conditions during March 2012, receiving 24 mm (1 inch) across the nation—half of the nation’s 1971–2000 average. This resulted in the driest March since 1997.
    • According to Germany’s Weather Service, the nation received a total of 14.9 mm (0.6 inch) of precipitation during March 2012. This was 41.7 mm (1.7 inches) or 73.7 percent below the 1961–1990 average. March 2012 ranked as the third driest March since national records began in 1881, behind 1929 and 1953.
    • According to Norway’s Institute of Meteorology, Norway had 155 percent of normal precipitation during March 2012, resulting in its ninth wettest March since national records began in 1900.


Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Quayle, R.G., T.C. Peterson, A.N. Basist, and C. S. Godfrey, 1999: An operational near-real-time global temperature index. Geophys. Res. Lett., 26, 333-335.

Smith, T.M., and R.W. Reynolds (2005), A global merged land air and sea surface temperature reconstruction based on historical observations (1880-1997), J. Clim., 18, 2021-2036.

Smith, et al (2008), Improvements to NOAA’s Historical Merged Land-Ocean Surface Temperature Analysis (1880-2006), J. Climate., 21, 2283-2293.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis for March 2012, published online April 2012, retrieved on May 7, 2012 from


I cannot recall when last, if ever, it was so hot in May. Here in Hartbeespoort (NW) and Pretoria it still feels like summer, reaching temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius.  Unbelievable…..

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