Global Climate Report - May 2002

Global Highlights:

  • Global average combined land and sea surface temperature was the third warmest on record for May and second warmest for March-May
  • June 2001-May 2002 global temperature was the second warmest such 12-month period on record
  • March-May temperatures were 3-5°C (5.4-9°F) warmer than average over much of Europe and eastern Asia
  • Above average precipitation during March-May was noted across much of Argentina and Uruguay with drier than average conditions throughout most of Australia

Contents of this Section:

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The data presented in this report are preliminary. Ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed. The most current data may be accessed via the Global Surface Temperature Anomalies page.
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Top of Page Introduction

The March-May 2002 mean temperature was above the 1988-2002 average across much of Europe, Australia and eastern Asia as shown in the adjacent map of blended satellite and in-situ data. Much cooler than average temperatures occurred across most of Canada and parts central Russia. The mean position of upper level ridges and troughs of low pressure (depicted by positive and negative 500 millibar height anomalies), correspond to areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies, respectively. Similar distributions of temperature were noted during May 2002. Warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures were observed throughout the tropical Pacific during March-May, as a slow evolution toward mature El Niño conditions continued. Global Blended Temperature in May 2002
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Global Temperature Anomalies in March-May 2002
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March-May temperature anomalies calculated from the Global Historical Climatology Network data set of land surface stations using a 1961-1990 base period also show the warmer than average temperatures across Europe, eastern Asia, much of Australia and western Alaska. Cooler than average temperatures were observed over much of Canada as well as southern Chile and Argentina. Much of Canada also experienced colder than average temperatures during the month of May 2002.
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Top of Page Temperature

  • For the period June 2001-May 2002, the global average land and ocean temperature was 0.58°C (1.04°F) above average, the second warmest June-May on record
  • The warmest June through May occurred 4 years ago during the last El Niño episode
  • The June-May land surface temperature average was warmest on record, 0.92°C (1.66°F) above average
  • Globally averaged ocean tempeatures for the same 12-month period were 0.43°C (0.77°F) above the 1880-2001 mean, or second warmest
Global Temp Anomalies in June-May 2002
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  • The global land and ocean seasonal temperature average (March-May 2002) was the second warmest boreal spring average in the 1880-2002 record, 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the long-term mean and 0.06°C (0.11°F) cooler than the El Niño spring of 1998
  • Temperatures averaged across ocean areas were second warmest on record globally, or 0.43°C (0.77°F) above the long-term March-May mean
  • Land areas were warmest on record for the 5-month period from January-May 2002, or 1.24°C (2.23°F) above the 1880-2001 average
Global Temp Anomalies in March-May 2002
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Global Temperature Anomalies for May 2002
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  • The global average land and ocean temperature during May 2002 was 0.51°C (0.92°F) above the 1880-2001 monthly mean, ranking third warmest in the period of record
  • Temperatures averaged across land areas also ranked as third warmest on record in May 2002, or 0.74°C (1.33°F) above average
  • Sea surface temperatures averaged second warmest for May, or 0.41°C (0.74°F) above the long-term mean
  • Global temperatures have increased at an average rate of approximately 0.6°C (1°F) per century since 1900, but the rate of warming during the past 25 years is almost three times higher
  • Serial monthly global surface temperature departures with respect to a 1971-2000 mean are shown in the figure to the right
  • The recent return to record or near record temperature departures is evident, and monthly global temperatures (land and ocean) have been warmer than the 1971-2000 average for the last 73 consecutive months
Global Temperature Timeseries
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Top of Page Precipitation

  • During boreal spring (March-May), much above average precipitation fell across parts of Argentina and Uruguay, interior China and the U.S. Ohio Valley
  • Drier than average weather prevailed across much of Australia, coastal provinces of China and Taiwan, as well as the U.S. Gulf Coast and western states
  • In May, heavier-than-average precipitation fell over much of Argentina, southern Brazil and Paraguay, with excessive rainfall observed across Madagascar.
  • Additional regional analysis can be found on the Global Hazards page
Global Precip Anomalies in March-May 2002
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Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network Database. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 78, 2837-2849.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Climate Report for May 2002, published online June 2002, retrieved on January 17, 2018 from