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NCDC Releases May 2012 Global Climate Report: Second Warmest May Global Temperatures

According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for May 2012 was the second warmest May temperature since record keeping began, at 59.79°F, which is 1.19°F above the 20th century average. This was the warmest monthly departure from average since November 2010. The global land surface temperature for May was 2.18°F above the 20th century average of 52.0°F, the all-time warmest May on record for land surfaces.

Most areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including nearly all of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, most of North America, and southern Greenland. Only Australia, Alaska, and parts of the western United States–Canadian border region were notably cooler than average.

May 2012 also marked the 36th consecutive May and 327th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature May was May 1976 and the last below-average temperature month was February 1985.

With the dissipation of La Niña in April, ocean conditions across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean in May were neutral. According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there is a 50 percent chance that El Niño conditions will emerge during the second half of 2012. In addition to influencing seasonal climate outcomes in the United States, El Niño is often, but not always, associated with global temperatures that are higher than temperatures in the neutral and La Niña phases.

This monthly analysis (summary, full report) from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides government, business, and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.