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World matched record for hottest September

Courtesy NOAA Visualization Lab

NOAA scientists say the globally-averaged temperature last month, tied with the September record high set in 2005.

If you thought September felt a bit warmer than usual, you weren't alone.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Monday that last month tied a 2005 record for the warmest September on record worldwide. These numbers have been tracked since 1880. September's combined average temperature over land and ocean around the world was 60.21 degrees Fahrenheit -- 1.21 degrees over the 20th century average.


The heat was most notable in parts of Russia, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Paraguay, Canada and Greenland. In the United States, September was only the 23rd hottest, The Associated Press reported.

The scientists also noted that September "also marked the 36th consecutive September and 331st consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average."

Records such as this are seemingly being set at a greater rate than they used to be, according to Professor Jonathan E. Martin, chair of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Martin says greenhouse gases are changing the composition of the atmosphere.

"One of the consequences of that is an easier time hurdling past high temperature records," Martin told NBC News, acknowledging that global warming could be at play.

With a September average of 1.39 million square miles, Arctic sea ice also reached its all-time lowest daily extent on record on Sept. 16. Martin speculated that there is a "very strong possibility" that this increased water exposure to the air could be affecting temperatures.

Related: Arctic sea ice reaches new low

The situation was different in the Antarctic, where sea ice actually reached its all-time highest daily extent record on Sept. 26.

Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, said 2012 so far currently clocks in as eighth warmest year on record. Unless there are exceptionally high temperatures the rest of the year, 2005 and 2010 will likely continue holding the title for hottest years on record, he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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