Despite well below average temperatures across parts of North America and Russia in February 2021, the global average surface temperature for the month was 1.17°F (0.65°C) warmer than the 20th-century average of 53.9°F (12.1°C) according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). It was the 16th-warmest February in the 142-year record. The overall warmth was no surprise: Earth hasn’t had a colder-than-average February since 1976.
The animated gif above shows the monthly average temperature for December 2020, January 2021, and February 2021 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Places that were warmer than average are red, and places that were cooler than average are blue.
Overall, the Northern Hemisphere winter (December 2020–February 2021) was also warm. Average temperatures were 1.33°F (0.74°C) above the 20th-century average, making it the 8th-warmest Northern Hemisphere winter season on record for the globe. The planet hasn’t experienced a Northern Hemisphere winter that was colder than average in 45 years.
Several areas were record-warm over December-January, including the eastern Mediterranean, the Atlantic off the U.S. Northeast, and the western tropical Pacific. No areas were record cold, but a few areas ranked as much colder than average: a swath of the eastern Pacific south of the equator, two isolated spots in Northern Russia, and a single spot in the North Atlantic Ocean southwest of Iceland.
To read more about the February and winter climate summaries, visit NCEI’s State of the Climate reports page.