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Global temperatures in March coolest in more than a decade

The average global temperature in March was the lowest since 1999, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This in spite of the fact that the United States experienced its warmest March on record, with more than 15,000 warm temperature marks broken and the average temperature of the lower 48 states being 51.1°F – a remarkable 8.6°F above the 20th century average for March.

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the first three months of the year was the coolest since 1996. The global land average surface temperature over the same period was also the coolest since 1996, NOAA reports.

The average Arctic sea ice extent during March was slightly below average, yet was still one of the largest of the past decade. The Antarctic ice pack grew 16 percent more than average, and was the fourth-largest March extent in the 34 years the records have been kept.