Arctic sea ice coverage was 6th smallest on record

April was the world’s ninth-warmest April in 142 years of record keeping, despite unusually cool temperatures across much of North America, Europe, Australia, the eastern tropical Pacific and southern oceans.

Continuing a warm trend, the year to date ranked eighth warmest on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Climate by the numbers

April 2021

The average global temperature in April was 1.42 degrees F (0.79 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average of 56.7 degrees F (13.7 degrees C), making April 2021 the ninth-hottest April on record. 

April 2021 marked the 45th consecutive April and the 436th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

Year to date (YTD) | January through April

The global temperature from January through April was 1.39 degrees F (0.77 of a degree C) above average, making it the eighth-hottest YTD on record. Temperatures were much above average across eastern Canada and parts of southern Asia.

Africa had its third warmest year to date on record, while South America had its 10th-warmest on record. No land or ocean areas had record-cold temperatures during this period.

An annotated map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during April 2021. Please see the story below as well as more details in the report summary from NOAA NCEI at http://bit.ly/Global202104.
An annotated map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during April 2021. Please see the story below as well as more details in the report summary from NOAA NCEI at http://bit.ly/Global202104. (NOAA NCEI)

An annotated map of the world plotted with some of the most significant climate events that occurred during April 2021. Please see the story below as well as more details in the report summary from NOAA NCEI at http://bit.ly/Global202104. (NOAA NCEI)Download Image

Other notable climate events in the report
  • Some regions had a cool April: In contrast to the world as a whole, parts of Alaska, the western half of Canada, the central contiguous U.S., Europe, central Asia, Australia, eastern Antarctica and the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean were cooler than average. Europe saw its coolest April since 2003.
  • Arctic sea ice was down substantially: The Arctic sea ice coverage (extent) in April averaged 5.34 million square miles — 5.8% below the 1981-2010 average — and the sixth-smallest April extent in the 43-year record.
  • Not much snow cover to speak of: The Northern Hemisphere’s snow cover was the 11th-smallest April extent on record, with North America’s snow cover ranking as 10th smallest for the month.

More >  Read NOAA’s global April climate report and download the images.

Media contact 

John Batemanjohn.jones-bateman@noaa.gov, (202) 424-0929

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