Publication Date June 20, 2017 | NOAA

Globe has third warmest May on record

NOAA's monthly climate report for May 2017 was released last week, and according to records dating back to 1880, it was the third warmest May on record. The map at right shows global average surface temperature for May compared to the 1981-2010 average. Places that were warmer than average are colored in shades of red, and places that were cooler than average are in shades of blue. Places with no data for the month are colored gray. Below the map is a time series of temperatures each May from 1880-2017 compared to the twentieth-century average (1901-2000). The solid gray line shows the long-term trend, which is 0.13°F (0.07°C) per decade. 

Highlights from the May global climate report include: 

  • The May temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.49°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F. This was the third highest for May in the 1880-2017 record, behind 2016 and 2015. 
  • The May globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.07°F above the 20thcentury average of 52.0°F. This value was the smallest May land global temperature departure from average since 2011 and the seventh highest May land global temperature in the 138-year record.
  • The May globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.28°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.3°F—the third highest global ocean temperature for May in the record, behind 2016 and 2015.
  • It was the warmest May on record for Africa, and the fourth warmest May on record for South America. 
  • Arctic sea ice in May was fifth smallest on record; Antarctic sea ice extent was second smallest on record.