While not technically a clean-technology story, the fervent need for such technology would not be as necessary if not for the continuing planet-wide warming trends, making the news that May 2014 was the hottest May on records a big deal.
According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), a part of the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for the May just gone was 0.74°C above the 20th century average of 14.8°C. (1.33°F and 58.6°F for those of you living in the three remaining countries desperate to cling to the Imperial system of measurements.)
While the global land surface average temperature was only the fourth highest for May on record, the global sea surface temperature average for May was what put the whole over the top, making it the highest May on average, but also tying it with June 1998, October 2003, and July 2009 as the highest departure from average for any month on record.
There are a number of highlights from the NCDC’s Global Analysis for May, including several from my home of Australia. Temperatures during May were “warmer-than”average” with the nationally-averaged mean the third highest on record for the month. South Australia had its hottest average May, with its average temperature 2.67°C above the norm, while every state in the country had both “above-average” monthly minimum and maximum temperatures.
The NCDC listed some other highlights from the monthly data;
- In Austria, May was the first month since May 2013 with a national temperature below the 1981–2010 monthly average, at 0.6°C (1.1°F) below normal.
- Spain observed a May temperature that was 1.4°C (2.5°F) higher than the 1971–2000 average. Most of the southern half of the country was 2°–3°C. (4°–5°F) warmer than average.
- With records dating back to 1973, South Korea reported its highest average May temperature on record, at 1.2°C (2.2°F) above the 1981–2010 average. The average maximum temperature for the country was second highest in the period of record, at 1.7°C (3.1°F) above average.
- In North America, the U.S. state of Alaska had its sixth warmest May since records began in 1918, at 3.56°F (1.98°C) above the 1971–2000 average.
While the report makes no mention of specific trends, spend a few months paying attention to work done by institutions like NOAA and you’ll be able to make your own decisions regarding the planet’s climate.
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