The year-to-date global temperature, Jan-May 2016. The January to May global average surface temperature was 1.08°C above the average, surpassing 201 by 0.24°C. Graphic: NOAA

16 June 2016 (NOAA) – The State of the Climate is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.

Global highlights: May 2016

  • The May temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.57°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F. This was the highest for May in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.04°F. May 2016 tied with June 2015 and August 2015 as the 12th highest monthly temperature departure among all months (1,637) on record. Overall, 13 of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with February 1998 and January 2007 among the 15 highest monthly temperature departures.
  • The May globally averaged land surface temperature was 2.11°F above the 20th century average of 52.0°F. This value was the third highest May land global temperature in the 1880–2016 record, behind 2012 and 2015.
  • The May globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.37°F above the 20th century monthly average of 61.3°F—the highest global ocean temperature for May in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.09°F. May 2016 was the 10th highest departure from average among all 1,637 months in the record. Record high sea surface temperatures across most of the Indian Ocean, along with parts of the Atlantic Ocean, and southwest Pacific Ocean contributed to the May warmth. The 11 highest monthly global ocean temperature departures have all occurred in the past 11 months.

Blended land and sea surface temperature percentiles for May 2016. Graphic: NOAA

  • The May temperature for the lower troposphere (roughly the lowest 5 miles of the atmosphere) was the second highest in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.99°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville* (UAH) using UAH version 5.6. It tied with 2010 as the second highest on record, at 0.79°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by Remote Sensing Systems* (RSS). Both analyses rank May 1998 as the warmest May in the satellite record.
  • The May temperature for the mid-troposphere (roughly 2 miles to 6 miles above the surface) was the second highest for May in the 1979–2016 record, at 0.83°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by UAH. It was the third highest on record, at 0.76°F above the 1981–2010 average, as analyzed by RSS. After removing the influence of temperatures above 6 miles in altitude, the University of Washington, using data analyzed by the UAH and RSS, calculated temperature departures from the 1981–2010 average to be 1.04°F and 0.94°F, respectively, both second highest in the record. All analyses rank May 1998 as the warmest May in the satellite record.
  • According to data from NOAA analyzed by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent during May was 1,033,000 square miles below the 1981–2010 average. This was the fourth smallest May Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent in the 50-year period of record. The North American snow cover extent was the second smallest on record, while the Eurasian snow cover extent was the ninth smallest. [more]

The heat goes on: Globe record warm for 13th consecutive month

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