Share

World's Hottest May Is Now May 2014: NOAA

By Terrell Johnson and Jon Erdman
Published: June 23, 2014

Rob Stothard/Getty Images

A man relaxes in London's Green Park on June 17 in London, England. The Met Office, the U.K.'s equivalent of our National Weather Service, says the next three months could bring Great Britain's hottest summer ever.

Last month was the hottest May in more than 130 years of recorded weather history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday in its monthly state of the climate report, as May 2014 surpassed the previous record high for the month set in 2010.

The world's combined land and ocean temperature for May was 1.33°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F, NOAA reported, adding that four of the five warmest Mays have occurred in the past five years.

In the report, NOAA separates out temperature records for the world's land and ocean areas. On land last month, the world saw its fourth-hottest May on record with a global surface temperature 2.03°F above the 20th century average. The oceans saw their hottest May on record, with a temperature 1.06°F above the 20th century average.

Here's how these global averages break down around the world. Note the impressive warmth in western Asia, Siberia and Australia.

Land & Ocean Temperature Departure from Average May 2014

Pointing out last month's record warmth alone leaves out important context, however -- the degree to which May temperatures have been warming worldwide since roughly the second half of the 20th century.

(Last month also follows a record-breaking April 2014, which tied with 2010 for the warmest April on record.)

Here's a graph that shows how May 2014 stacks up in relation to all previous Mays going back to 1880. As you can see, the last time the world saw below average temperature for May came in 1976, when Gerald Ford was president and the Concorde made its first commercial flight to the U.S.:

Global land and ocean May temperature anomalies from 1880-2014

The March to May 2014 period was the second-warmest on record (behind only 2010) across global land and ocean surfaces, at 1.33°F above the 20th century average. NOAA adds that this spring's warmth was spread evenly around the world, as the Northern Hemisphere experienced its second-hottest spring on record (again, behind only 2010).

And the first five months of this year have been Earth's fifth warmest on record, with a temperature 1.19°F above the 20th century average. "With the exception of February ... each monthly temperature in 2014 to date has ranked among the four highest for its respective month," NOAA adds in the report.

This is despite one of the coldest winters on record in parts of the Great Lakes. To put this in context, here is the January-May 2014 land and ocean temperature anomaly map, similar to the May map above.

A few more highlights:

  • The United Kingdom had its third-warmest spring on record, with temperature 2.3°F above the 20th century average
  • Norway saw its warmest spring since national records began in 1900, breaking its previous record set in 2002. The nation's average temperature for March to May 2014 was 4.1°F above the 1981-2010 average.
  • South Korea saw its warmest May on record, with a temperature 2.2°F above the 1981-2010 average.

Read much more on May 2014 at NOAA's Global State of the Climate Report.

 

MORE: Pacific Islands Threatened by Global Warming

Way of Life at Risk

Way of Life at Risk

As an extremely low-lying country, surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is at extreme risk from the impacts of human-caused climate change, including sea-level rise and storm surges. (Charly W. Karl/flickr)

  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Sign of the Times
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Vanishing Islands
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Rising Seas
  • Building Resilience
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Life in Kiribati
  • On Borrowed Time?
  • 'All We Could Do Was Relocate'
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Clean Water Threatened
  • Sign of the Times
  • Resettling Away From the Sea
  • Resettling Away From the Sea
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Defending Freedom
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Replanting Mangroves
  • Replanting Mangroves
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Way of Life at Risk

Featured Blogs

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Begins; New CSU, TSR Forecasts Call For a Quiet Season

By Dr. Jeff Masters
June 1, 2015

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway, and there are indications that the second tropical depression of the year has a chance to form late this week in the waters near South Florida or the Bahama Islands on Friday or Saturday.

Hottest Summers, Coldest Winters for Contiguous U.S.: A Few Years Loom Large

By Christopher C. Burt
May 28, 2015

Keeping track of all-time warmest/coldest daily maximum temperatures and all-time warmest/coldest months on record for any given site is a fairly easy task. However, very few NWS sites provide data concerning what their respective coldest climatological winters (December-February) or hottest climatological summers (June-August) have been. Researching 300 sites in the contiguous U.S. I have put together this summary for such. Below are the methods I used and some of the results, which proved quite interesting.

Please check out the new homepage and tell us what you think!

By Shaun Tanner
April 2, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.