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November temps set new global high, NOAA says

By Matt Daniel and Matt Smith, CNN
updated 6:13 PM EST, Tue December 17, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • November's global average temperature was the warmest on record
  • North America was one of the few spots that saw lower-than-average temps
  • The last 37 Novembers have topped the 20th century average

(CNN) -- It may not have felt like it in the United States, but the world saw its warmest November on record last month, according to new data released Tuesday by U.S. observers.

The global average temperature for November was just under 56.6 degrees Fahrenheit (13.7 C), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That's about 1.4 degrees F over the 20th century's average and the second-highest November mark on land since records started being kept in 1880, NOAA said.

North America was one of the few places that saw below-average temperatures for the month. That may be no surprise to Americans who were traveling over the snowy, slushy Thanksgiving holiday, but it put the continent in rare company. Only southwestern Greenland, north-central Australia and the seas off Tierra Del Fuego saw a cooler-than-average November, while eastern Europe and Asia saw much warmer temperatures for the month.

Russia saw a particularly warm November, with parts of Siberia, the Ural Mountains and its Arctic islands recording temperatures up to 14 F (8 C) above an average that dates back to 1891, NOAA said. The data showed no record lows for the month anywhere on the globe.

The figures, compiled by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and NASA, include both land and ocean readings. They were released less than three months after the United Nations concluded that global warming was continuing, and that human activity -- particularly the consumption of fossil fuels, which release heat-trapping carbon dioxide -- is largely responsible. It's a controversial notion politically, but one long accepted by most scientists.

November continued an unbroken string of 345 months of temperatures above the 20th-century average, with 37 consecutive Novembers topping that mark, according to NOAA.

Longer-term, the global average for September through November was the second-warmest on record, trailing only 2005, and the year-to-date figure of 58.3 F (14.6 C) is the fourth-warmest on record.

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