The government's official global temperature report for March hasn't been published yet, but according to data from NOAA and NASA satellite data, last month was the warmest March in records dating to 1979.
The combined land-sea temperature was 1.31 degrees Fahrenheit above the 30-year average.
That also was the third-highest anomaly among all the months in the satellite record, according to the University of Alabama's John Christy, keeper of the data.
Christy said while El Nino -– anomalously warm surface waters in the tropical Pacific – continues to fade – its residual heat continues to help bump up global temperatures.
On Monday, the government's Climate Prediction Center said that sea-surface temperatures out that way still were running just over 2.5 degrees above normal, but that the upper ocean has cooled considerably
The government's National Centers for Environmental Information March report will be released later this month, and we'd be suprised if it doesn't crown last month as the warmest March, conitnuing a record run tied to greenhouse gases.
We should note that NCEI and satellite measurements are quite different. NCEI computes an average global temperature from thousands of surface stations.
The satellites use microwave-sounding devices to measure temperatures in the bottom 6 miles of the atmosphere.
The NCEI records are back-dated to 1880, and the monthly numbers are expressed in terms of how they compare with 20th Century averages.
Both databases, however, concurred that before last month, the February 2016 temperatures were the highest relative to averages.
NCEI had it 2.1 degrees about the 20th Century average, and the satellites, 1.49 above the 30-year figure.
Christy said the February temperatures got a kick from general warmth in the Northern Hemisphere, while the March warmth was focused on the tropics.