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Fourth warmest May on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 12:25 PM GMT on June 25, 2007

The tropical Atlantic remains quiet. None of the computer models are showing any tropical development over the next week. The best chance of a new threat area to watch may not occur until July 1, when a strong cold front pushes off the U.S. East Coast.

The Middle East will see their second tropical cyclone of the month on Tuesday. Tropical Cyclone 3B crossed India, killing at least 140, and re-formed in the Arabian Sea, and is poised to hit Iran or Pakistan tomorrow. The View From the Surface blog is following this storm. We may looking at hundreds of years since the last time the Middle East was hit by two tropical cyclones in the same month. Tropical Cyclone Gonu pounded Oman and Iran earlier this month.

Fourth Warmest May on record
May 2007 was the fourth warmest May for the globe on record, and the period January - May of 2007 was tied with 1998 for the warmest such period ever, according to statistics released by the National Climatic Data Center. The global average temperature for May was +0.53�C (+0.95�F) above the 20th century mean. Over land, May global temperatures were the warmest ever measured, the second straight month that has happened. Ocean temperatures were a bit cooler (ninth warmest on record), thanks to the cooling associated with the disappearance of the winter El Ni�o event. The global temperature record goes back 128 years.

May temperatures were particularly warm across Russia. Moscow recorded its highest May temperature since record keeping began 128 years ago--32.9�C (91.2�F). The heat forced Russia's energy administrator to restrict the use of non-residential energy for the first time in summer. In India, a heat wave during mid-May produced temperatures as high as 45-50�C (113-122�F) resulting in at least 128 fatalities. Dr. Ricky Rood's Climate Change blog has more on the India heat wave. Although record heat was more prevalent across the globe, Argentina experienced its coldest May in twenty years, and at least 23 fatalities were reported as a result of cold weather during the last week of May.

11th warmest May on record in the U.S.
In the U.S., May 2007 ranked as the 11th warmest since record keeping began in 1895. The period January through May was the 20th warmest such period on record. Spring (March - May) was 5th warmest on record in the continental U.S. The past six months (Dec-May) were the driest on record for the Southeast U.S. Portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee are experiencing exceptional drought. However, the drought has eased some since late May over the Florida Peninsula.

Figure 1. Temperature departure from average for May 2007. Image credit: National Climatic Data Center.

Sea ice extent
Sea ice extent in the Arctic for May was the third lowest on record, a modest recovery from the lowest ever sea ice coverage observed in April. Arctic sea ice coverage in May has declined by about 8% since measurements began in 1979 (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Arctic sea ice extent for May, for the years 1979-2007. May 2007 had the third lowest Arctic sea ice extent since satellite measurements began in 1979. May sea ice coverage has declined about 8% since 1979. Image credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

I'll have a new blog on Tuesday.
Jeff Masters

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