Global temperature data from NASA show that May 2016 was the warmest May on record – despite satellites reporting that it was less warm than May 1998.
The analysis of global surface temperatures in May from the US space agency reports that last month was also the eighth warmest month recorded since records began in 1880. NASA reports that the average global temperature anomaly in May was +0.93oC, sharply down on the +1.09oC reported in April and the +1.29oC reported in March, respectively the warmest April and warmest March on record, and also down on the record-breaking +1.33oC reported in February – the warmest month in the NASA data archive.
This decline indicates that global surface temperature anomalies have continued to come off the boil with the fading of the El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event.
Satellite measurements of global temperature
Separate analyses of global atmospheric temperature measurements collected from satellite instruments by Remote Sensing Systems and the University of Alabama in Huntsville both reported that May 2016 was the second warmest May in the history of satellite measurements which goes back to 1979 – with an anomaly less than that reported in May 1998, when there was also a significant El Niño event.
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 anomaly reported by RSS for May 2016 was 0.15oC below that reported in May 1998.
UAH also reported that May 2016 was the second warmest May in the satellite temperature record, with an anomaly trailing May 1998 by 0.11oC.
Both satellite data sets agree with the NASA data that February 2016 was the warmest month in their respective records.