Much of the mainland United States is still getting blasted with frigid Arctic air. The reason? Back in mid-November, Typhoon Nuri created a high-pressure region near Alaska that pushed a bunch of cold Arctic air south. That meant unseasonably cold weather in the US (along with seven feet of snow in Buffalo).
At the same time, other parts of the world are unusually warm right now — including Alaska and much of the Mediterranean. The map above from the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute shows that, on average, the world is currently about 0.57°C warmer than the 1979-2000 baseline for this day.
That said, when looking at temperature trends, it's always important to take a longer view than just a single day. More broadly, 2014 is currently shaping up to be the warmest year globally since records began in 1880. Here's a map from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center showing data from January to October:
That map provides an illustration of how global warming can be occurring even if it happens to be unusually cold in a particular location (in this case, the eastern and midwest US has been "cooler than average" over this period). More from NOAA:
With records dating back to 1880, the global temperature averaged across the world's land and ocean surfaces for October 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.74°C (1.33°F) above the 20th century average. This also marks the third consecutive month and fifth of the past six with a record high global temperature for its respective month (July was fourth highest).
The record high October temperature was driven by warmth across the globe over both the land and ocean surfaces and was fairly evenly distributed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Southern Hemisphere was record warm overall with a record high land surface temperature for the month. The Northern Hemisphere was third warmest on record for October, with a record high average sea surface temperature.
"This is truly global scale warmth that we see and it's consistent with what we'd expect with increasing greenhouse gases," Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center, told NBC News.