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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.
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.:
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.Follow @terrellwrites
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