The latest report from the National Climatic Data Center reminds us that the planet is continuing to warm as expected. Most of the attention will be afforded to the global picture, for good reason:
The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2010 was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). This is the warmest such value on record since 1880.
Those of us living in the U.S. Southeast are sweltering through a record-breaking heat wave, so there will be much nodding of heads. Of course, regional weather isn’t the point. So it’s useful to read further down the NCDC report, to the section on what’s happening elsewhere on the planet. The take-home message is “We are not alone.”
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that Delhi, India was anomalously warm during the month. The average daily maximum temperature for May was 41.5°C (106.7°F), which is 1.9°C (3.4°F) above the long-term average. The highest temperature experienced during the month was 45.4°C (113.7°F); the all-time maximum May temperature for Dehli is 47.2°C (116.9°F) which occurred on May 29th 1944. Minimum daytime temperatures during the month were also very warm, averaging 27.8°C (82.0°F), which is 1.9°C (3.4°F) above the long-term mean.
According to the Pakistani Meteorological Service, a record-breaking heatwave affected portions of that country during the last week of May. Temperatures on May 26th soared to over 53.0°C (127.4°F) in several locations, which the highest temperature of 53.5°C (128.3°F) measured in Mahenju Daro.
The average temperature for the Southern Hemisphere as a whole (land and ocean surface combined) was 0.61°C (1.10°F) above the 20th century average, and tied for second warmest May on record with 2002 and behind 1998. The Southern Hemisphere ocean temperatures during May 2010 were the second warmest May on record, behind 1998, with an anomaly of 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average. The May 2010 Southern Hemisphere land temperatures were 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average — the fourth warmest May on record.
The good news is “The warm SSTs which have been present for the year-to-date over the equatorial East Pacific decreased, signifying the end of El Niño and the return to ENSO-neutral conditions.” There’s still a good chance 2010 will end up being the warmest on record, though.