By Chris Dolce for WEATHER.COM
The winter of 2014-15 was the warmest on record worldwide, according to the state of the climate report released by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Wednesday.
NOAA says that December through February – for meteorological record-keeping purposes, winter is defined as those three months in the Northern Hemisphere – was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average for all land and ocean areas. This tops the previous warmest winter of 2007 by 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit. Global temperature records are available for the period 1880-2015.
Individually, here is how each month ranked for the earth:
December 2014: Warmest on record.
January 2015: Second warmest on record.
February 2015: Second warmest on record.
Though it was a cold winter overall in eastern North America, including the United States, the Northern Hemisphere also saw its warmest winter on record. This was due to widespread above-average temperatures in western North America, Europe and Asia. NOAA says that record warmth was observed in the western United States, portions of central Siberia and eastern Mongolia.
For the United States alone, winter 2014-15 was the 19th warmest on record.
(MORE: U.S. Winter Recap)
The Southern Hemisphere also saw warmer-than-average temperatures for this period, which constitutes the summer months there. Overall, the December-February period ranked as the fourth warmest on record for all land and ocean areas. Australia recorded its fifth warmest summer on record.
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: NASA Photos Show Climate Change's Impact on Glaciers, Ice