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February 2021 was the planet’s coolest February in seven years due to La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean and unusually brisk temperatures that enveloped much of North America and northern Asia.

The average global land and ocean surface temperature last month was 1.17 degrees F (0.65 of a degree C) above the 20th-century average making it the 16th-warmest February on record for the globe — but still the coolest since 2014. 

It was the 14th-warmest February on record for the Northern Hemisphere and the 19th warmest for the Southern Hemisphere. Eastern Canada, much of Europe; and southern and northeastern Asia experienced remarkable warmth in February.

On the flipside, much of North America, Scandinavia and northern Asia saw much cooler-than-normal temperatures — at least 5.4 degrees F (3.0 degrees C) below average.

Other notable climate events in this report

  • A month of global extremes: North America had its coldest February since 1994 — and its 20th-coldest February in 112 years of record-keeping — as Oceania experienced its coldest February since 2012. Meanwhile, South America and the Caribbean saw average temperatures for February that placed among the top-10 warmest for the month. 

  • Amount of winter snow cover varied: North America was blanketed with its fourth-highest February snow cover on record, while Eurasia had its 14th-lowest February snow cover extent.

  • Polar sea-ice coverage was unusually small: Last month’s Arctic sea ice coverage tied with 2017 for the 7th-smallest ice extent on record for February; Antarctica’s sea ice cover ranked 11th smallest on record.