Washington: This has been the world's warmest winter since record-keeping began more than a century ago, the US government agency that tracks weather reported.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the combined global land and ocean surface temperature from December through February was at its highest since records began in 1880.
A record-warm January was responsible for pushing up the combined winter temperature, according to the agency's Web site, www.noaa.gov.
The combined temperature for the December-February period was 1.3 degrees F (0.72 degree C) above the 20th century mean, the agency said on Thursday.
Temperatures were above average for these months in Europe, Asia, western Africa, southeastern Brazil and the northeast half of the US, with cooler-than-average conditions in parts of Saudi Arabia and the central US.
Global temperature on land surface during the northern hemisphere winter was also the warmest on record, while the ocean-surface temperature tied for second warmest after the winter of 1997-98.
Over the past century, global surface temperatures have increased by about 0.11 degree F (0.06 degree C) per decade, but the rate of increase has been three times larger since 1976 -- around 0.32 degree F (0.18 degree C) per decade, with some of the biggest temperature rises in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.