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Environment

The Home Planet Experiences its Warmest May on Record

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanJune 18, 2014 5:19 AM

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And with El Niño coming, this may be just the beginning...

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The departure from average temperatures during May, 2014. (Source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.) If you live in the central United States it may not have felt this way, but for the Earth overall, last month likely was the warmest May on record. The average global temperature for May was 1.38 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average, according to NASA. Of course, none of us experiences the global average, ever. What we feel is particular to where we're at. So if you happen to have spent most of May in Texas, you would have experienced a cooler than average May. But have a look at the map above. It charts how temperatures during the month departed from normal. So, to offer one example, if you happen to have spent most of May in Alaska, well, the map should give a good sense of what you experienced... I should mention one big caveat before I go any further: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has not yet come out with its own analysis of May's climate. It should do that some time this week. It's possible that their ranking will be slightly different, since they use a different method. But I'm guessing their assessment will not vary much, if at all, from NASA's. We'll see. In the meantime, consider that yesterday, the Japan Meteorological Agency announced that March, April and May comprised he warmest spring in a record that stretches back to 1891. What might we expect going forward? An El Niño seems to be developing. Should it come to full fruition, it is likely to boost global average temperatures even further. Things are looking curiouser and curiouser.

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