October Was 332nd Straight Warmer-Than-Average Month

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 16 2012 2:55 PM

It Has Been Nearly 28 Years Since We Have Had a Colder-Than-Average Month

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January–October 2012 blended land and sea surface temperature percentiles are shown on this government handout

Temperature map courtesy of NOAA.

Grist.org's Philip Bump dug through NOAA's latest State of the Climate report and discovered this nugget, emphasis his:

The average temperature across land and ocean surfaces during October was 14.63°C (58.23°F). This is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average and ties with 2008 as the fifth warmest October on record. The record warmest October occurred in 2003 and the record coldest October occurred in 1912. This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. The last below-average month was February 1985. The last October with a below-average temperature was 1976.
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As Bump translates, that means that anyone out there 27 (and two-thirds!) or younger has never lived through a month that saw global temperatures dip below average. For what it's worth, the warmest October on record came in 2003 and the coldest occurred way back in 1912.

Bump has more on the numbers here, which you should go check out for yourself. But in our need to add something of our own (or, perhaps more accurately, our desire for a Friday afternoon spin on Wikipedia) that means the following people are among those who have never seen a colder-than-average month: Michael Phelps, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mischa Barton, Ethan Peck and Lady Gaga.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.