The Copernicus Climate Change Service, the EU's satellite observation service, said March 2023 was the second warmest March on record globally. Far above average temperatures were recorded across a large swathe of land covering North Africa, southwestern Russia and most of Asia, where new high temperature records were set for the month of March.
Only the month of March 2016, since the scientific surveys were carried out, has been more warm than the one just ended. Regions experiencing drier conditions include most of the Iberian Peninsula, the Alpine Arc, parts of Central Europe, the Eastern Balkans and the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea.
Above-average humidity was recorded in March in a zone extending from western to north-eastern northern Europe and in Turkey.
March 2023 the second warmest globally ever
Above-average temperatures in central and southern Europe, low rainfall and below-average Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent are some of the main features of last March, which turned out to be the second warmest.
In southern and central Europe, air temperatures were above average, while in northern Europe they were found to be below average.
In addition, last March, Antarctic sea ice extent was the second lowest recorded in historical satellite data, coming to be 28% below average, exceeding the all-time low in February.
Arctic sea ice extent was 4% below average, ranking fourth in the satellite data chart for March, but remaining in line with the last three record lows. Regions experiencing drier-than-average conditions in March 2023 include most of the Iberian Peninsula, where drought has sparked forest fires, the Alpine Arc, parts of Central Europe, the Eastern Balkans and the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea.
In March 2023, Arctic sea ice extent peaked at 14.62 million square kilometers, a total area that is about 1.03 million square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average maximum. It means this year's late-winter extent was the fifth lowest since National Snow and Ice Data Center records began 45 years ago.
Since the high on March 6, the extent has decreased by about 200,000 square kilometers, mainly in the Labrador Sea, the Gulf of San Lorenzo and the Barents Sea.