In this global image, average global surface temperatures in August 2009 were compared to the average temperatures for the month of August measured each year from 1961-1990. Across much of the central United States, temperatures were cooler than the historical average. Overall, however, land and ocean temperatures were several degrees warmer than normal. The largest departures occurred across Australia, Europe, parts of the Middle East, northwestern Africa, and southern South America. Both Australia and New Zealand recorded their warmest August since records began.

Global land and sea surface temperatures in August 2009 broke several records. The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, according to measurements available from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. NCDC scientists reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for August was the second warmest on record, behind 1998. Summer in the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than normal in 2009, with the average temperature for June, July, and August setting a record as the warmest ever measured since worldwide records began in 1880.