June 2014: Earth's 3rd Consecutive Warmest Month on Record

By Dr. Jeff Masters
Published: 5:22 AM GMT on July 24, 2014

June 2014 was Earth's warmest June since records began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) this week. NASA rated June 2014 a bit cooler: the 3rd warmest June on record. According to NOAA, the planet has now had three consecutive warmest months on record--April (which was tied for the warmest April), and now May and June of 2014. This is the first time Earth has experienced three consecutive warmest months on record since a four-month stretch during March, April, June, and June 2010. Global ocean temperatures during June 2014 had the greatest departure from average for warmth of any month in recorded history: 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average. The previous record of +0.59°C (1.06°F) was set in June 1998 and tied in October 2003, July 2009, and May 2014. Global land temperatures in June 2014 were the 7th warmest on record, and the year-to-date January - June period was the 3rd warmest on record for the globe. Global satellite-measured temperatures in June 2014 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 4th warmest in the 36-year record, according to Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH).

Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for June 2014, the warmest June for the globe since record keeping began in 1880. Large regions of Earth’s oceans experienced record-warm conditions. New Zealand had its warmest June since records began in 1909. No record cold was observed on the planet. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) .

Notable weather events of June 2014
According to wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, June 2014 was the wettest June on record for portions of Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa. A COOP weather station four miles west-northwest of Canton, SD received 19.65” of rain during the month, setting an official new state monthly precipitation record. Previous record: 18.61” in Deadwood, SD in May 1946. India had the opposite problem: the monsoon brought anemic rains that were just 57% of average for the month.

One billion-dollar weather disaster in June 2014
Only one billion-dollar weather-related disaster hit the Earth during June 2014, a severe thunderstorm outbreak across Germany, France and Belgium, according to the June 2014 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield. The total number of billion-dollar weather disasters for the first half of 2014 is eleven, which is well behind the record-setting pace of 2013, which had seventeen such disasters by the end of June, and ended up with a record 41 by the end of the year.

Disaster 1. An outbreak of severe thunderstorms across Germany, France and Belgium on June 8 - 10, 2014 killed six people in Germany and did $2.75 billion in damage. Hail up to 7.0 cm (2.75") in diameter and winds beyond 145 kph (90 mph) were recorded. Extensive crop damage was also noted in southwestern France around Bordeaux, Cognac, and Languedoc where swaths of vineyards were destroyed. In this image, a boy walks next to a tree that fell on a building on June 9, 2014 in Cognac, France a few hours after a violent thunderstorm. Image credit: NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images.

An El Niño Watch continues
June 2014 featured neutral El Niño conditions in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, and sea surface temperatures have been hovering near the threshold for El Niño, +0.5°C from average, from late April through mid-July. However, the atmosphere has not been behaving like it should during an El Niño event. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)--the difference in surface pressure between Darwin, Australia and the island of Tahiti--tends to drop to negative values during the presence of an El Niño atmosphere, but was positive during June. However, the SOI became negative at the beginning of July, and has remained negative through this week, which may be an indication that the atmosphere is beginning to respond. NOAA is continuing its El Niño Watch, giving a 70% chance that an El Niño event will occur this summer, with an 80% chance by fall.

Arctic sea ice falls to 6th lowest June extent on record
Arctic sea ice extent during June was the 6th lowest in the 36-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Average June temperatures over parts of the Arctic Ocean were from 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (2 to 4 degrees  Fahrenheit) below the 1981 to 2010 average, keeping extreme ice melt from occurring. This is in stark contrast to the unusually warm summers of many recent years, particularly 2012 and 2007, when air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were up to 4 to 6 degrees Celsius (7 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit), respectively, above average.

Most impressive weather video of June 2014

Video 1. An EF-4 tornado hit a farm near Woonsocket, South Dakota, on June 18, 2014. The tornado had a dramatic set of suction vorticies--smaller vortices embedded within the tornado’s circulation, which can add over 100 mph to the ground-relative wind. The suction vortices are particularly striking about 2:00 into the video, and contribute to heavy damage to a farm about 3:00 in. Video taken by Dick McGowan and Shay Phillips of Team Dominator of TVNWeather.com.

Jeff Masters

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About The Author
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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