Land surface temperatures the hottest ever for the month; only Australia, Alaska and small parts of South America cooler than average
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s getting hotter and hotter, the National Climatic Data Center announced this week, releasing its monthly global temperature analysis showing that the average land surface temperatures in May 2012 were the warmest ever recorded.
Land and sea surface temperatures combined averaged out to the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1880. Only May 2010 was warmer.
Measuring land surface readings only, the average temperature was 2.18 degrees above the 20th century average. Land and surface readings combined averaged to 1.19 degrees above the 20th century average.
Nearly all of the northern hemisphere, with the exception of parts of the north and central Pacific Ocean, reported warmer than average readings, with the biggest departures from average across parts of North America, from Mexico through the Southwest and Central Plains, as well as southwestern Greenland, central and northern Europe and Russia most of Asia.
Australia was the only major land mass reporting widespread cooler than average temperatures, along with a small part of South America. Much of Alaska also reported cooler-than-average readings. Daytime temperatures in Australia were near normal, but nighttime readings were well below average, ranking as the fifth coolest May nighttime temperature in that country’s 63-year period of record.
The last time global May temperatures were below the 20th century average was in 1976. The last time any month was below average was February 1985.
The average global ocean temperature for may was .81 degrees above the 20th century average, the 10th-warmest on record.
For the year to-date, 2012 ranks as the 11th-warmest year on record for the global average land and sea surface temperatures combined, and the 10th warmest for land surface temps alone. It was also the warmest spring (March to May) on record for the northern hemisphere.
The warm spring was reflected by snow cover measurements in the northern hemisphere, which ended up as the second-smallest May snow cover on record dating back 46 years. Eurasian snow cover was the all-time lowest, while the North American snow cover extent ranked as the eighth-smallest on record.