May was Earth's warmest on record

Last month was the hottest May on record for global temperatures. California's temperatures, while not record high, were above average and will continue to be so throughout the summer.
Last month was the hottest May on record for global temperatures. California's temperatures, while not record high, were above average and will continue to be so throughout the summer. Photo by DrewToYou via Flickr Creative Commons

May was the hottest on record, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The monthly summary from NOAA’s Climatic Data Center shows that the average ocean surface and land temperatures across the globe was 59.93 degrees Fahrenheit, beating the previous May record set in 2010.

It’s part of a larger trend of warming temperatures. The last time any month has been lower than the 20th century average was in February 1985.

While California’s temperatures last month were not record breaking, they were also above average. Meteorologists attributed them to a high-pressure ridge that blocked storm systems from moving through the area.

“The atmospheric pattern was a fairly stationary pattern, with the high pressure over the Eastern Pacific,” said Mark Jackson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Storms that would bring cooler temperatures are unlikely considering the time of year. El Niño conditions are expected to develop later this year, which have many hoping for a wetter winter. However, the climate phenomenon is not a guarantee of rain.

“As we go farther out, along with El Niños, if we do have above-average precipitation, that would bring slightly cooler temperatures,” Jackson said. “For the summer time period, we’re at this point expecting above average summer [temperatures],” Jackson said.

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