March 2016 temperatures highest since 1880
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March 2016 was the highest for this month in the 1880–2016 record, at 1.22°C (2.20°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.32°C / (0.58°F), and marks the highest monthly temperature departure among all 1,635 months on record, surpassing the previous all-time record set just last month by 0.01°C (0.02°F). Overall, the nine highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred in the past nine months. March 2016 also marks the 11th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record keeping.
The average global temperature across land surfaces was 2.33°C (4.19°F) above the 20th century average of 3.2°C (37.8°F), the highest March temperature on record, surpassing the previous March record set in 2008 by 0.43°C (0.77°F) and surpassing the all-time single-month record set last month by 0.02°C (0.04°F) .
Most of Earth’s land surfaces were warmer than average or much warmer than average, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above, with record warmth notable across eastern Brazil, most of eastern and central Africa, much of southeastern Asia, and large portions of northern and eastern Australia. Most of northwestern Canada and Alaska, along with vast regions of northern and western Asia, observed temperatures at least 3°C (5°F) above their 1981–2010 average.