Planet Posts Third Warmest May and Second Warmest Spring Period on Record

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with May 2017 marking not only the third warmest May on record but also closing out the planet’s second warmest March to May period, known as meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere.

According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for May – over both land and sea surfaces – was 60.09°F, which is 1.49°F above the 20th-century average. Only May 2015 and 2016 were warmer.

This May also marked the 389th consecutive month with a global temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

The three-month period of March, April, and May was also unusually warm. NOAA reports that Earth’s average temperature for the season was 1.66°F above the 20th century average of 56.7°F. That makes it the second warmest such period on record, trailing only the 2016 season.

While heat dominated most of the planet this spring, some places were particularly warm, including much of Europe and North America. Here in the contiguous US, it was our eighth warmest spring on record.

These soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in May, which means there was neither an El Niño nor a La Niña in the Pacific to influence global weather patterns.

Year to date, the first five months of 2017 were the second warmest such period of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Globally, March 2017 to May 2017 was the second warmest such period on record. Credit: NOAA

Second Heat Wave of the Year Bakes NYC

The summer solstice is still a week away, but New York City is already sweltering through its second heat wave of the year.

The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the northeast, it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. This week, the mercury in Central Park soared to 90°F on Sunday, 93°F on Monday, and 94°F on Tuesday.

The high temperature on Monday tied the record for the date that was set in 1973. Monday also posted a new record warm low reading – known as a maximum minimum temperature – of 76°F. The previous record of 73°F was set in 2015.

The last time the city saw temperatures reach the mid-90s was August 2016. The average high and low for this time of year in the Big Apple is 79°F and 63°F, respectively.

This dramatic heat was the result of a dominant Bermuda High, a large area of high pressure situated off the east coast. Spinning clockwise, it has been steering hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico toward the northeast.

While these conditions can feel oppressive, they can also cause a number of health problems. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the city and encouraged people to limit their time outdoors.

If you are not a fan of the heat, fear not. Weather that is more seasonable is expected to return later this week.

The second heat wave of the year is baking the Big Apple. Credit: Melissa Fleming

Extreme Heat Can Impact Your Health

The second heat wave of the year is underway in the Big Apple. As temperatures soar, it is important to remember that intense heat can cause serious health problems.

According to the CDC, extreme heat – temperatures that are significantly hotter than the average local summertime high – is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in this country. Claiming hundreds of lives every year, excessive heat kills more people across the U.S. than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

Extreme heat is deadly because it forces the human body beyond its capacity to cool itself. Linked to overheating and dehydration, heat-related illnesses can range in severity from mild to life-threatening.  Symptoms for each stage include:

Heat Cramps:  Painful muscle spasms in the legs and/or abdomen

Heat Exhaustion:  fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, and nausea

Heat Stroke:  rapid pulse, hot and dry skin, no sweating. This is a medical emergency

To beat the heat, the American Red Cross suggests:

  • Avoid strenuous activity
  • Dress lightly
  • Eat lightly
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Replenish salts and minerals lost through perspiration
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Stay out of the sun
  • Cool off in an air-conditioned building, when possible

April 2017: Earth’s Second Warmest on Record

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with April 2017 marking the second warmest April ever recorded on this planet. Only April 2016 was warmer.

According to the state of the climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 58.32°F. That is a staggering 1.62°F above the 20th-century average. April was also the 388th consecutive month with a global temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

While heat dominated most of the planet in April, some places were particularly warm, including Asia, Alaska, and the eastern United States. For the contiguous US as a whole, it was the 11th warmest April on NOAA’s books.

These soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in April, which means there was neither an El Niño nor a La Niña to influence global weather patterns.

Year to date, the first four months of 2017 were the second warmest such period of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

April 2017 was Earth’s second warmest April on Record. Credit: NOAA

First Heat Wave of 2017 for NYC

It’s official! We are having a heat wave in New York City.

The threshold for what constitutes a heat wave varies by region, but here in the northeast, it is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures reaching 90°F or higher. In Central Park, the temperature reached 90°F on Wednesday, 92°F on Thursday – setting a new record for the date – and then 91°F on Friday.

While heat waves are more common during the summer months, they have developed in the spring before. The last time one happened in May was May 2-4, 2001. The city’s earliest heat wave on record was April 16-18, 2002. This week’s event ranks as the sixth earliest, according to the NWS.

The main driver of this unseasonable heat is a stubborn Bermuda High, which is a large area of high pressure off the east coast. Spinning clockwise, it is ushering warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico into the region

The city’s normal high for this time of year is 72°F.

Credit: NOAA/NWS

Record Breaking Spring Heat in NYC

The calendar says May, but it felt more like July in New York City on Thursday. The temperature in Central Park soared to 92°F, setting a new record high for the date. The previous record of 90°F had been in place since 1936.

Wednesday was also a scorcher, producing the Big Apple’s first 90-degree day of the season. The normal high in NYC at this time of year is 71°F.

These dramatic temperatures are the result of a Bermuda High, a large area of high pressure situated off the mid-Atlantic coast. Spinning clockwise, it has been funneling very warm air from the Gulf of Mexico toward the northeast.

This type of heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, which is why an air quality advisory was issued for the area. Anyone with repository concerns, like asthma, was advised to stay indoors.

While these temperatures are unseasonable, the city has seen 90° readings arrive even earlier. The earliest, according to NWS records, was April 7, 2010, when the mercury climbed to a sweltering 92°F.

If you are not quite ready for summer, fear not. Conditions more typical of May are expected to return this weekend.

Weather Whiplash for NYC. Credit: The Weather Gamut

April 2017: Second Warmest on Record for NYC

Transitioning to spring, April was a month of wild temperature swings in New York City. We had highs that ranged from a chilly 48°F to a summer-like 87°F. However, with 19 out of 30 days posting above average readings, the warmth won out in the end.

The city’s mean temperature for the month was 57.2°F, which is a whopping 4.2°F above the long-term norm. That makes April 2017 the Big Apple’s second warmest April on record. Only April 2010 was warmer.

In terms of precipitation, April’s famous showers were slightly below normal with 3.84 inches of rain measured in Central Park. But of this total, the vast majority (74%) came down on three different, but very wet, days. The city usually sees 4.50 inches of rain for the month.

Credit: The Weather Gamut

March 2017: Earth’s Second Warmest on Record

Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with March 2017 marking the second warmest March ever recorded on this planet. Only March 2016 was warmer.

According to the state of the climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 56.79°F. That is a whopping 1.89°F above the 20th-century average. March was also the 387th consecutive month with a global temperature above its long-term norm. That means the last time any month posted a below average reading was December 1984.

While heat dominated most of the planet in March, some places were particularly warm, including the United States, Europe, and Russia. For the contiguous US, despite the cool conditions in the northeast, it was the 9th warmest March on NOAA’s books.

These soaring temperatures are largely attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. In fact, March 2017 marked the first time a monthly temperature departure from average surpassed 1.8°F (1.0°C) in the absence of an El Niño event.

Year to date, the first quarter of 2017 was the second warmest such period of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Easter 2017: Second Warmest on Record for NYC

The calendar said Easter, but it felt more like the Fourth of July in New York City on Sunday. The temperature in Central Park soared to a sweltering 87°F, which is a staggering 25°F above average.

According to the NWS, this was the second hottest Easter on record for the Big Apple. The warmest was April 18, 1976, when the temperature hit 96°F. Unlike Christmas, Easter falls on a slightly different date every year. It is the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the spring equinox.

While the heat was not ideal for the holiday’s famous chocolate eggs, the city’s parks were filled with people enjoying the warm weather. However, if you are not quite ready for summer, fear not. More spring–like conditions are expected to return this week.

Credit: NWS

NYC Hits 80°F for the First Time this Year

It felt more like June than April in New York City on Tuesday. Building on the prior day’s spring heat, the temperature in Central Park soared to 80°F, marking the city’s first 80-degree day of the year.

Topping out at 20°F above average, the day was unseasonably warm. However, it was not a record breaker. That honor belongs to April 11, 1955, when the mercury soared to 84°F. On average, the city’s first 80-degree day does not show up until April 26.

Wearing short sleeves and enjoying lunch alfresco, many New Yorkers took full advantage of this summer preview. Some even celebrated the clash of the seasons by ice-skating in shorts at the rink in Rockefeller Center (photo below). More seasonable conditions are expected to return later this week.

Ice-skaters wore shorts at the rink in Rockefeller Center as the temperature soared to summer-like levels. Credit: Melissa Fleming