May 2015: Warmest May on Record for Planet Earth

Our global temperature continued to rise last month. In fact, May 2015 was the warmest May ever recorded for the entire planet.

According to a report by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 60.17°F. That is 1.57°F above the 20th century average. The previous record was set last year. NOAA also said the May 2015 global temperature “ties with February 1998 as the fourth highest monthly departure from average for any month on record. The two highest monthly departures from average occurred earlier this year in February and March.”

While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm. Here in the US, five states – Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – each had a record warm May.

Rising ocean temperatures, according to NOAA, helped fuel the month’s record warmth. The global sea surface temperature for May was 1.30°F above the 20th century average of 61.3°F.  That is the warmest on record for any May surpassing the previous record set just last year. It should be noted, however, that moderate El Niño conditions were present across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean last month.

Year to date, the first five months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA