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

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 20,412,501 — Total deaths: 744,649— Total recoveries: 12,629,465Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 5,163,509 — Total deaths: 164,994 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. threatens to veto UN peacekeeping in Lebanon over Hezbollah concerns

Peacekeepers with Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon. Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration is threatening to veto a resolution to extend the UN's long-standing peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon if its mandate isn't changed, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: The U.S. is the main funder of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has an annual budget of $250 million. The veto threat is a tactical move, and part of a broader effort to put pressure on Iran and its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.