The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information reported May 2016 to be the thirteenth consecutive warmest month around the globe. Temperatures last month on both land and sea were 1.57 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the monthly average of 58.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the 20th century.
The average temperature for May 2016 surpassed the record set in May of 2015 that was 0.04 degrees F higher than any other May recorded between 1880-2016. That makes May of 2016 the month with the highest ever recorded average global land and sea temperatures since record keeping began.
Average land temperatures last month across the globe were actually 2.11 degrees F above the 52.0 degrees F average for the 20th century, with only two other years being higher - 2012 and 2015. Also, sea surface temperatures exceeded the 1880-2016 average monthly temperature record of 61.3 degrees and was at 1.37 degrees F above the 20th century monthly average.
Sea surface temperatures rising
The NOAA indicated that record-setting sea surface temperatures contributed to this significant rise from the 2015 May increase of 0.09 degrees above the 20th century monthly average. These record-setting warm temperatures were found across most of the Indian Ocean, the southwest Pacific ocean, and portions of the Atlantic Ocean.
Many months of record-setting heat
The report also highlighted how the average temperature across the months of March to May of 2016 surpassed records over the same period in 2015, making the March to May period in 2016 the warmest ever among recorded temperatures spanning from 1880 to 2016. The combined average of land and sea temperatures for that period in 2016 was 1.94 degrees F above the 20th century average of 55.5 degrees F.