March 2023 was Earth's second-warmest March since global record-keeping began in 1850 according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It was 1.24 degree Celsius above the 20th-century average.
NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information has reported that land areas had their second-warmest March on record in 2023, with global ocean temperatures the third-warmest.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the European Copernicus Climate Change Service also rated March 2023 as the second warmest March on record. The only warmer March in all three databases was in the year 2016, near the end of the record-strong 2014-16 El Niño event. Minor differences in the agencies’ rankings can result from the different ways they treat data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.
According to NOAA, Asia had its second-warmest March; South America and Africa had their fourth-warmest March; Europe had its tenth-warmest March; Oceania had its 17th-warmest March; and North America had a warmer-than-average March that did not rank among the 20 warmest on record.
NOAA’s latest global annual temperature rankings outlook said, “It is virtually certain that 2023 will be a top 10 year.” This outlook does not explicitly take into account the anticipated arrival of El Niño later this year, which would make record or near-record global warmth in 2023 and 2024 even more likely.