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May Global Temps Were 10th Warmest For the Month

June 17, 2011

Global temperatures in May were the 10th warmest for any May since 1880, when records began being kept, while the extent of Arctic sea ice was the third smallest for any May on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Thursday.

The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center showed that last month’s combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was 59.5F (15.30 Celsius), which is 0.9 F (0.5 C) above the 20th century average of 58.6 F (14.8 C).

Separately, the global land surface temperature was 1.31 F (0.73 C) above the 20th century average of 52.0 F (11.1 C), which was the seventh warmest May on record.

The global ocean surface temperature was 0.74 F (0.41 C) above the 20th century average of 61.3 F (16.3 C), making it the 11th warmest May on record.

The warmth was most pronounced in most of the central and western Pacific, most of the Atlantic, and much of the mid-latitude southern ocean regions, the agency said.

Year to date, the combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for May was the 12th warmest on record, while the worldwide land surface temperature was the 15th warmest such period on record. Year to date global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.68 F (0.38 C) above the 20th century average — the 11th warmest such period on record.

La Niña conditions dissipated during May 2011, and neither La Niña nor El Niño conditions are expected throughout summer 2011, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said.

The average Arctic sea ice extent during May was 5.96 percent below average, ranking as the third smallest May since satellite records began being kept in 1979.   In the Antarctic, the May 2011 sea ice extent was 1.17 percent above average — the 14th smallest May extent since 1979.

Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during May was “much-below” average, ranking as the third smallest on record, NOAA said.  The snow cover extent over North America was slightly below average, while Eurasian snow cover was much-below average, ranking as the second smallest May snow cover on record.

NOAA’s full “State of the Climate” global analysis for May 2011 can be viewed at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2011/5.




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