Summary Information

The State of the Climate Summary Information is a synopsis of the collection of national and global summaries released each month.


Global Summary Information - May 2013

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May 2013 global temperatures were third highest on record

March-to-May and year-to-date temperatures were eighth warmest

The globally-averaged temperature for May 2013 tied with 1998 and 2005 as the third warmest May since record keeping began in 1880. May 2013 also marks the 37th consecutive May and 339th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

Many areas of the world experienced higher-than-average monthly temperatures, including most of northern Siberia, western Russia, northern and eastern Europe, and central Australia. Meanwhile, western Siberia, northeastern Kazakhstan, western Europe, southwestern Greenland, parts of the central and southeastern United States, and Alaska were notably below average.

Global temperature highlights: May

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces during May tied with 1998 and 2005 as the third highest on record for May, at 59.79°F (15.46°C) or 1.19°F (0.66°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.13°F (0.07°C).
  • May 2013 Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
    May 2013 Blended Land & Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in °C
  • May marked the 37th consecutive May and 339th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average temperature for May was May 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985.
  • The global land temperature was also the third warmest May on record, at 2.00°F (1.11°C) above the 20th century average. The margin of error is ±0.25°F (0.14°C).
  • Some national highlights are included below:
    • Norway observed one of its warmest Mays in the country's 113-year period of record, with a monthly-averaged temperature that was 4.7°F (2.6°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
    • May 2013 ranked among the top five warmest Mays over the past century for Sweden. Several stations were record warm, including Sarna in northern Dalarna and Östersund / Frösön that were 18.7°F (10.4°C) and 18.9°F (10.5°C) above their respective averages.
    • The nationally-averaged May maximum temperature for Australia was 1.44°F (0.80°C) above the 1961–1990 average. South Australia was 4.28°F (2.38°C) above average, the fourth warmest May in the 104-year period of record. The May minimum temperature was record high for the state, at 4.63°F (2.57°C) above average, breaking the previous record set in 1921 by 0.58°F (0.32°C).
    • The nationally-averaged monthly May temperature for Spain was 2.3°F (1.3°C) below the long-term mean, the coldest May on record since 1985.
  • For the ocean, the May global sea surface temperature was 0.88°F (0.49°C), above the 20th century average of 61.6°F (16.3°C), tying with 2003 and 2009 as the fifth warmest for May on record. The margin of error is ±0.07°F (0.04°C).
  • Neither El Niñ'o nor La Niña conditions were present across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean during May, with sea surface temperatures below average across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, neutral conditions are favored over the next few months.

Precipitation highlights: May

  • Record wetness was observed over parts of the north central United States, far southwestern Canada, part of central Europe, and a section of Far East Russia. Record dryness was scattered across different parts of the globe, including part of northern Chile, northern South Africa, eastern Niger, south central Ukraine, and parts of southern Kazakhstan.
  • May 2013 tied with 1962 and 1965 as the wettest May in Austria's 156-year period of record. Rainfall was almost two times the 1981–2010 average.
  • With low pressure systems abundant over eastern New Zealand, the capital city of Auckland observed its wettest May on record, at 2.5 times higher than average.
  • Nationally-averaged May precipitation across Australia was the highest since 1997, at 25 percent above the 1961–1990 average. However, rainfall was not evenly distributed as the northwestern to central parts of the country received the most anomalous rainfall, while the eastern regions and part of the north received the least.
  • Germany reported its second wettest May, behind 2007, since national records began in 1881, at 79 percent above the 1981–2010 average.

Polar ice highlights: May and Seasonal

    May 2013 Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    May 2013 Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent
    Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent, from the May 2013 Global Snow & Ice Report
  • According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent for May was the third smallest on record. The May snow cover extent was 6.21 million square miles, 1.1 million square miles below the 1981–2010 average of 7.31 million square miles. Below-average snow cover was present for both Eurasia and North America. Eurasia had its smallest May snow cover extent on record, while North America had its 20th smallest.
  • According to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the average May Arctic sea ice extent was 5.06 million square miles, approximately 110,000 square miles (2.17 percent) below the 1981–2010 average of 5.17 million square miles, resulting in the 10th smallest monthly May extent on record.
  • The May Antarctic sea ice extent was 4.43 million square miles, 270,000 square miles (6.33 percent) above the 1981–2010 average of 4.16 million square miles. This marked the fifth largest May Antarctic sea ice extent on record.

Global temperature highlights: March–May

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March–May tied with 2004 as the eighth highest on record for this period, at 1.06°F (0.59°C) above the 20th century average of 56.7°F (13.7°C). The margin of error associated with this temperature is ±0.14°F (0.08°C).
  • The global land temperature was the 11th warmest March–May on record, at 1.75°F (0.97°C) above the 20th century average of 46.4°F (8.1°C). The margin of error is ±0.23°F (0.13°C).
    • With a cooler-than-average March and May and near-average April, the average spring temperature in France was 2.3°F (1.3°C) below normal, making this the coolest spring since 1987 for the country.
    • The Netherlands reported its coldest spring in more than 40 years, due in large part to a colder-than-average March.
    • With records dating back to 1909, the nationally-averaged fall (March–May) temperature across New Zealand was 1.3°F (0.7°C) above the 1971–2010 average.

    Global temperature highlights: Year-to-date

    • The first five months of 2013 was the eighth warmest such period on record, with a combined global land and ocean average surface temperature of 1.06°F (0.59°C) above the 20th century average of 55.5°F (13.1°C). The margin of error is ±0.18°F (0.10°C).
    • The January–May worldwide land surface temperature was 1.80°F (1.00°C) above the 20th century average, marking the sixth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.36°F (0.20°C).
    • The global ocean surface temperature for the year-to-date was 0.77°F (0.43°C) above average, making it the eighth warmest such period on record. The margin of error is ±0.09°F (0.05°C).