NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has issued its latest monthly, “State of the Climate: Global Analysis,” which found:

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2009 was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th Century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). This was the second warmest September on record, behind 2005, and the 33rd consecutive September with a global temperature above the 20th Century average. The last below-average September occurred in 1976.

Significantly, September was only 0.04°C (0.07°F) off the 2005 record.

This near-record September comes fast on the heels of the second warmest August on record and warmest June-July-August for the oceans.  I previously noted that NASA reported hottest June to September on record.

What is most interesting about this report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the temperature report from the lower troposphere (”the lowest 8 km (5 miles) of the atmosphere”) — the satellite data that began in 1979 analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).

UAH and RSS say September was also the second warmest in their records — a mere 0.01°C off the 1998 record.  NOAA reports that the lower troposphere warming trend for September is

  • +0.13°C/decade (UAH)
  • +0.18°C/decade (UAH

So yes, the satellite data also shows that the lower atmosphere is warming, contrary to what you may have heard.

In fact, the mid-troposphere (about 2 to 6 miles above the Earth, which includes a portion of the lower stratosphere) is also warming, according to both UAH and RSS.  It’s not warming quite as fast because as the lower troposphere in part “because the stratosphere has cooled due to increasing greenhouse gases in the troposphere and losses of ozone in the stratosphere.”

The global temperature anomaly for the month looked like this:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/get-file.php?report=global&file=map-blended-mntp&year=2009&month=9&ext=gif

Although the United States as a whole was “1.0°F above the 20th Century average,” with record-tying temperatures in California, as usual the deniers had a few seemingly cool places in the country on which to feast.

We are still seeing staggering warming in some of the worst places from the perspective of the planet as a whole, the land of the the permafrost permamelt, which currently contains contains more carbon than the atmosphere (see here).

Again, what makes these record temps especially impressive is that we’re only in a weak El Niño, and we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” according to NASA.

Stay tuned.  The heat is on — or, rather, it’s never been off.