May 2017 was the second warmest (or hottest) May on record — in terms of global average surface temperatures. It was only a tenth of a degree behind the current record holder, May 2016.
Overall, global average temperatures during May 2017 were about 1.6° Fahrenheit higher than normal — “normal” being the 1951–1980 baseline. This is based on newly released data from NASA.
As one can see in the image above, higher than normal temperatures encompassed much of the globe — with particularly abnormal temperatures being observed in some parts of Antarctica, Northern Africa, and Western Europe.
Some parts of Antarctica actually saw temperatures some 13.8° Fahrenheit (7.1° Celsius) higher than normal — a sign of the fact that there are parts of Antarctica that are likely far less stable than previously assumed, as we have reported numerous times in recent months and years.
Climate Central provides more: “With May in the record books, NASA data also shows that this was the second-warmest spring on record, again trailing only 2016. NASA climate researcher Gavin Schmidt said the first five months of the year make it likely that this will be the second-hottest year on record trailing only, you guessed it, 2016.
“Last year’s record heat got a boost from El Niño. The absence of El Niño this year in some ways makes the planetary heat even more shocking, though it certainly fits a pattern.
“After all, May marked an all-time monthly peak for carbon dioxide levels in what’s become an annual rite of passage. Scientists found that carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory, the marquee measuring station, reached 409.65 parts per million (ppm) last month. That coupled with the second-hottest May on record are major markers of the current state of the world’s climate.”
So, again, to reiterate what’s going on here — the pace of change continued to accelerate (temperatures during May 2017 and 2016 were essentially equal despite the lack of an El Niño this year) despite the fact that official emissions figures are supposedly flat.