Fast on the heels of the fourth warmest May on record, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reports:

Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the second warmest on record for June, and the January-June year-to-date tied with 2004 as the fifth warmest on record.

NCDC notes that the ocean temperature was the warmest on record.  In fact, it was a full 0.11°F warmer than the 2005 record.  This is almost certainly the new El Niño on top of the long-term warming trend (see NOAA says “El Niño arrives; Expected to Persist through Winter 2009-10″ – and that means record temperatures are coming and this will be the hottest decade on record).

And no, I don’t think the monthly data tell us much about the climate.  But I know reporting it annoys the deniers.  Also, the deniers have been touting the supposedly cool June temperatures over parts of this country (although the lower 48 in fact had the 49th warmest June on record, and Alaska had the 21st warmest).  “Across parts of Africa and most of Eurasia,” however, “temperatures were 3°C (5°F) or more above average.”  Such warming may be coming to the U.S. later in the year.  It typically takes several months for the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to impact global temperatures.

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Once again, the geographical distribution of the warming continues to be really, really bad news for those worried about the permafrost permamelt, since temps are running upwards of 3°-5°C (5.4°-9°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 norm over much of Siberia, as NCDC’s figure shows:

NOAA NCDC June 2009 temperature anomalies

This is worrisome because:


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As for what to expect in the coming months, NOAA explains:

If El Niño conditions continue to mature as projected by NOAA, global temperatures are likely to continue to threaten previous record highs.

We can very safely say “this will be the hottest decade in recorded history by far,” and also that may well be on the verge of realizing NASA’s January prediction:

Given our expectation of the next El Niño beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.

I think 2010 is a better bet if this is a long-lasting El Niño.  Last winter’s La Niña makes it difficult for 2009 to set the global temperature record – that would require essentially every month for the rest of the year to be the warmest or second warmest on record (see NASS GISS data set here).

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

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