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Global average surface temperature anomalies in October 2018 compared to 1951–1980 average. Bright red colors depict 8.4°C above average, whereas purple shows 4.1°C below average. Image: NASA GISS.

Earth just had its second-warmest October on record, according to NOAA data released Tuesday. NASA reported the same finding last week.

The big picture: The finding extends the planet's hot streak to 406 straight months with temperatures above the 20th century average. Meanwhile, the last colder-than-average month occurred in February 1985. This means that no one under the age of 32 has ever experienced a cooler-than-average month on this planet.

Why it matters: While monthly rankings are often determined by a fraction of a degree, it's the long-term trends that climate scientists pay more attention to when assessing our changing climate.

By the numbers: According to NOAA, October 2018 came in just behind October 2015 in terms of the global average surface temperature anomalies. Notably, the report found:

  • The 10 warmest October global land and ocean surface temperatures have all occurred after 2003.
  • The last five years (2014–2018) have been the five warmest Octobers on record.
  • Record warm temperatures during the month were seen across parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, Alaska, the Bering and Barents seas, central and eastern Russia, northern Australia, and central Africa.
  • Not a single land or ocean region had a record cold October.
  • Central and eastern Russia as well as Alaska saw average monthly temperatures that exceeded 5.0°C, or 9.0°F, above average, which is an unusually high departure from the norm.
  • Cooler regions were seen across Canada, parts of the Lower 48 states and in central China.
  • Global ocean temperatures were also at the second-highest levels on record for October, which in part reflects a gathering El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The bottom line: It's likely that 2018 will be among the top-five warmest years on record, given its year-to-date ranking as the fourth warmest on record. The five warmest January–October periods on Earth have come in the past five years, NOAA reported.

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.

1 hour ago - World

Jerusalem crisis: Hamas fires rockets, Israel begins military campaign

Palestinian protesters and an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days of tension in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of fire on Monday, as Hamas fired dozens of rockets toward Israel and the Israeli military responded with strikes of its own and said it was preparing for a military operation that could last several days.

Why it matters: This is the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem since 2014, and it's the most serious escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians in many months. It comes during the most sensitive days on the calendar — the last days of Ramadan and the Jerusalem Day commemoration on Monday — and as political crises roil both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.