March 2017 was the second warmest March in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
Last month was 1.12 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean March temperature from 1951-1980. The two top March temperature anomalies have occurred during the past two years.
March 2016 was the hottest on record, at 1.27 degrees Celsius warmer than the March mean temperature. March 2017’s temperature was 0.15 degrees Celsius cooler than March 2016, but 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than any previous March.
The monthly analysis by the GISS team is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations.
The modern global temperature record begins around 1880 because previous observations didn’t cover enough of the planet. Monthly analyses are sometimes updated when additional data becomes available, and the results are subject to change.