Earth's Last Colder-Than-Average Month Was December 1984; Here's What Was Happening Then

Chris Dolce
Published: April 20, 2017

March 2017 marked the 387th consecutive month that the Earth's average temperature has exceeded the 20th-century average. The last time the average global temperature for a single month was below average occurred in December 1984.

(MORE: March 2017 Global Climate Report)

This is an enormous stretch of time since our planet saw its last cooler-than-average month, and is one of many indications of how our climate is changing.

To put how long ago this was in perspective, here are some of the things that were happening in 1984. 

First Commercially Available Mobile Phone

The 1980s-era Motorola DynaTAC 8000, the first commercially available hand-held mobile phone, during a keynote address at the Venetian during the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Weighing in at just under two pounds (28 ounces), Motorola's DynaTAC 8000 became available to consumers in 1984. 

It was the first hand-held mobile phone available commercially and carried a price tag of $3,995.

Apple's First Macintosh 

The first Macintosh computer. (Credit: Sailko/Wikimedia Commons)

The first Macintosh computer from Apple was released in January 1984 and came complete with a keyboard and mouse.

For $2,495 ($5,594 in 2014 dollars) you got a computer that featured a screen size of nine inches, an eight megahertz processor, and no internal storage, according to PC Magazine.

Footloose and Ghostbusters Among Popular Movies

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is seen on the concourse at Waterloo Station on July 11, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

The movies Footloose and Ghostbusters were released in the United States Feb. 17, 1984, and June 8, 1984, respectively. What do those movies have in common? They've both been remade in recent years.

Other notable movies released in 1984 include the Karate Kid, Terminator, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Beverly Hills Cop and Gremlins.

(MORE: Warm Records Crushing Cold Records So Far in 2017)

Prince's Purple Rain Album Released

Prince performs during the 'Pepsi Halftime Show' at Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Music released in 1984 included Prince's Purple Rain along with the debut albums of several now-famous music groups.

Bon Jovi, Run-D.M.C. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all released their first albums in1984.

Lebron James Was Born

LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half in game two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James was born Dec. 30, 1984, when the globe saw its last cooler-than-average month.

Popular Toys in 1984

A Transformer toy made by Hasbro is offered for sale at a Toys R Us store Oct. 22, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Transformers made their debut in 1984 and were among the most popular toys for Christmas that year, according to nbcnews.com.

Cabbage Patch Kids also continued their popularity from the previous year, selling 18 million dolls in 1984.

The First Minivan Model Year

A 1984 Dodge Caravan. (Greg Gjerdingen / Wikimedia Commons)

Minivans are everywhere on the roads these days, but in 1984 it was a new concept.

Chrysler introduced the Dodge Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager minivans for the 1984 model year. More than 209,000 of the minivans were sold in that first model year, the New York Times reported.

Ronald Reagan Re-Elected to a Second Term

U.S. President Ronald Reagan sits with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, London on June 05, 1984. (Photo by Rogers/Express/Getty Images)

President Ronald Reagan was re-elected to a second term in the White House after defeating Walter Mondale in November 1984. Reagan took 49 of 50 states in the election and is the last U.S. president to be in office when the world had a colder-than-average month.

Top 5 Most Popular Baby Names in 1984

The Weather Channel logo in 1984.

According to babycenter.com, these were the top five most popular baby names.

Male: Michael, Christopher, Matthew, Joshua, David

Female: Jennifer, Jessica, Ashley, Amanda, Sarah

The Weather Channel Was In Its Infancy

Earth's last below-average temperature month occurred when The Weather Channel television network wasn't even 3 years old. The on-air debut of the network was May 2, 1982.

Meteorologist Jim Cantore was still in college at Lyndon State University and wouldn't make his debut on The Weather Channel until 1986.

MORE: NASA Images of Climate Change


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.