Sea ice coverage at the poles remains small
Climate-wise, Mother Earth had three of a kind in hand last month: It was the fourth warmest May, the fourth warmest March–May period and the fourth warmest year to date on record for the globe.
Let’s take a closer look more the highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly global climate analysis:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature in May 2018 was 1.44 degrees above the 20th-century average of 58.6 degrees F. This was the fourth highest for May in the 139-year record (1880–2018). Last month also was the 42nd consecutive May and the 401st consecutive month with above-average temperatures.
March through May 2018 | Season
The average global temperature for March–May was 1.48 degrees above average of 56.7 degrees, making it the fourth warmest such period on record.
The year to date | January through May 2018
The year-to-date average global temperature was 1.39 degrees above average of 55.5 degrees F. This tied 2010 as the fourth warmest average temperature for the year to date.
More notable climate facts and stats
Low polar sea-ice coverage continues
The average Arctic sea ice coverage (extent) in May was 8.1 percent below the 1981–2010 average, the second smallest extent for May on record. The near-record low coverage stemmed from much-below-average sea ice in the Bering and Chukchi seas.
The Antarctic sea ice extent was 8.6 percent below average, the third smallest on record for May. Below-average ice coverage remained in parts of the Weddell Sea offsite link.
Warmer-than-average lands and oceans, again
The globally averaged land-surface temperature was seventh highest on record for May and the fifth highest for the March–May period and the year to date.
The globally averaged sea-surface temperature was fourth highest on record for May and the March–May period, and the fifth highest for the year to date.
The heat was on in Europe
Europe had its warmest May on record; North America, its second; South America, its sixth; Africa, its ninth; Asia, its 15th; and Oceania had its 35th warmest.
> Access NOAA’s monthly climate report and download related maps and images.