Global atmospheric temperatures in May 2016, as measured by satellite instruments and analysed by US firm Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), tied as the second warmest May since satellite monitoring began.
May 2016 was statistically tied with May 2010 as the second warmest May on record in terms of atmospheric temperatures measured by satellite, according to the RSS data. The nominal difference between the two months was just two one-thousandths of a degree.
The mean global temperature anomaly – or variance to the long term average – for the lower troposphere during May was +0.52oC which was down on April’s +0.76oC as well as the +0.84oC reported in March and the +0.98oC reported in February – the warmest month in the satellite archive.
El Niño impact
Global atmospheric temperatures in May were maintained by the effects of the fading El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event. But temperatures were below those reported in May 1998, another El Niño, when the anomaly was +0.67oC.
The RSS result for May 2016 is consistent with a different analysis of satellite data by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Both analyses rank the global anomaly in May as second warmest May in the satellite era.
Warmest May Months Globally (1979 – 2016)
(Warmer than seasonal norms – anomaly oC)
RSS global data here, RSS tropics data here, RSS northern polar data here , RSS northern mid latitude data here RSS southern polar data here and RSS southern mid latitude data here. Maps and graphics here.
Our report on the UAH May global temperature analysis.