May Global Temperature Change*

May Rankings:  1880 -  2019 Temperature Reocrd
Comparisons with 20th Century Global Average Surface Temperature
(Temperatures are not compared here with a pre-industrial baseline)



Change in

Hottest May 
+0.93°C   +1.67°F
4th Hottest May
+0.85°C   +1.53°F
Coldest May
-0.57°C   -1.03°F
    Data retrieved:
July 10, 2019

*Surface temperature changes relative to 20th Century global average (1901 - 2000)
Source data  NOAA-NCEI State of the Climate: Global Analysis  [Web + data download]


The global land and ocean surface temperature for May 2019 was 0.85°C (1.53°F) above the 20th century average and the fourth highest May temperature departure from average since global records began in 1880. Mays 2016 (+0.93°C / +1.67°F), 2015 (+0.89°C / +1.60°F), and 2017 (+0.87°C / +1.57°F) were warmer.

May 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average conditions across much of the globe's land and ocean surfaces. The most notable warm temperature departures from average were present across parts of northern Canada and across parts of Antarctica, where temperatures were at least 4.0°C (7.2°F) above the 1981–2010 average. Record warm May temperatures were present across much of the southern half of Africa, western Indian Ocean, parts of New Zealand and its surrounding southern ocean, as well as parts of Asia, South America, and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Meanwhile, the most notable cool temperatures were present across much of the western half of the contiguous U.S., central and southeastern Canada, and northern and central Europe, with temperature departures from average at 2.0°C (3.6°F) below average or cooler. Although there were no areas that had record cold May temperatures, there were some locations where their May 2019 temperature departure from average ranked among the coldest 10 percent of the distribution. These locations include parts of the western contiguous U.S., the North Atlantic Ocean, parts of western South America, and the southern ocean off the southern coast of South America.[NOAA/NCEI global analysis accessed July 10, 2019].  


"The science is sobering—the global temperature in 2012 was among the hottest since records began in 1880. Make no mistake: without concerted action, the very future of our planet is in peril."

~ Christine Lagarde, in 2012
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund


NOAA/NCEI annual global analysis for 2018: 

The 2017 average global temperature across land and ocean surface areas was 0.84°C (1.51°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), behind the record year 2016 (+0.94°C / +1.69°F) and 2015 (+0.90°C / +1.62°F; second warmest year on record) both influenced by a strong El Niño episode. The year 2017 is also the warmest year without an El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

2017 also marks the 41st consecutive year (since 1977) with global land and ocean temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average, with the six warmest years on record occurring since 2010. Since the start of the 21st century, the global temperature has been broken five times, three of those being set back to back (2014–2016). The yearly global land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880; however, the average rate of increase is twice as great since 1980. From 1900 to 1980 a new temperature record was set on average every 13.5 years; however, since 1981 it has increased to every 3 years.

Overall, the global annual temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.07°C (0.13°F) per decade since 1880 and at an average rate of 0.17°C (0.31°F) per decade since 1970."

[NOAA/NCEI global analysis for 2018 accessed February 18, 2019].


"Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much."

~ NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies [NASA post of January 20, 2016]


Before the end of 2015, scientists projected that average global temperature increase for 2015 will exceed 1°C above pre-industrial levels.  The years 1850-1990 are used as the pre-industrial baseline by the MET Office and Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.  The MET Office released this statement in November 2015:


"This year marks an important first but that doesn't necessarily mean every year from now on will be a degree or more above pre-industrial levels, as natural variability will still play a role in determining the temperature in any given year.  As the world continues to warm in the coming decades, however, we will see more and more years passing the 1 degree marker - eventually it will become the norm."

~ Peter Stott
Head of Climate Monitoring and Attribution (MET Office)


>> Read More





NOAA NCEI State of the Climate: Global Analysis (Monthly)

NOAA NCEI State of the Climate: Global Analysis (Annual)

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