Earth’s warming trend continued last month, with September 2022 tying with 2021 as the fifth-warmest September in 143 years.
The tropics also heated up, with an above-average number of tropical cyclones spinning around the globe, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
Below are more highlights from NOAA’s September global climate report:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature for September was 1.58 degrees F (0.88 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 59.0 degrees F (15.0 degrees C), tying September 2021 as the fifth-warmest September since 1880.
Regionally, North America had its warmest September on record, besting the previous record set in 2019 by 0.54 of a degree F (0.30 of a degree C). Asia and Africa had their fifth and sixth-warmest Septembers, respectively. Despite having above-average temperatures, South America and Europe had their coolest Septembers since 2013.
September 2022 marked the 46th-consecutive September and the 453rd-consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
The year to date (YTD, January through September 2022)
The YTD average global temperature was the sixth warmest on record at 1.55 degrees F (0.86 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average.
According to NCEI’s Global Annual Temperature Outlook, there is a greater than 99% chance that 2022 will rank among the 10-warmest years on record, but less than a 5% chance that it will rank among the top five.
Other notable climate events
Sea ice coverage was below average: Globally, September 2022 had the eighth-lowest September sea ice extent (coverage) on record. Last month’s Arctic sea ice extent averaged 1.88 million square miles — about 595,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average — tying September 2010 as the 11th-smallest September extent in the 44-year record. Antarctica had its fifth-smallest September sea ice extent on record at 6.95 million square miles — 190,000 square miles below average.
A busy month in the tropics: Global tropical cyclone activity was above average in September, with a total of 20 named storms. Twelve of those storms reached tropical cyclone strength (winds of 74 mph or higher), with six of the 12 reaching major tropical cyclone intensity (winds of 111 mph or higher). Following no hurricanes or tropical storms in August, the Atlantic basin saw six named storms in September, four of which became hurricanes, including two major hurricanes, Fiona and Ian.
The East Pacific and the West Pacific basins also saw above-average tropical cyclone activity during the month. The West Pacific had seven storms, all of which reached typhoon strength (winds of 74 mph or higher) — tying with 1956 and 1996 as the most typhoons in September since 1981. One storm in particular, Super Typhoon Noru, rapidly intensified into the second Category 5 tropical cyclone of 2022 before making landfall in the northern Philippines as a Category 4 storm.