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Global Warming

Month of May Was 4th Warmest in Recorded History

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The combined average global land and ocean surface temperatures for
May 2009 ranked fourth warmest since worldwide records began in 1880,
according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The
analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which
are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the
data when late reports are received several weeks after the end of the
month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing
algorithms.

Temperature Highlights

*The
May 2009 combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 0.95
degrees F (0.53 degrees C) above the 20th century average of 58.6
degrees F (14.8 degrees C).

*Separately,
the global land surface temperature was 1.19 degrees F (0.66 degrees C)
above the 20th century average of 52.0 degrees F (11.1 degrees C), the
eighth warmest for May on record.

*The
global ocean surface temperature was 0.86 degrees F (0.48 degrees C)
above the 20th century average of 61.3 degrees F (16.3 degrees C), the
third warmest for May on record.

*For
the year to date, the global combined land and ocean surface
temperature of 56.5 degrees F (13.6 degrees C) tied with 2003 for the
sixth warmest January-May period on record. This value is 0.97 degrees
F (0.54 degrees C) above the 20th century average.

Other Global Highlights

*Sea
surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean during May
continued to increase for the fifth month in a row, supporting the
presence of ENSO neutral state.

*Arctic
sea ice covered an average of 5.17 million square miles during May.
This is 1.6 percent less than the 1979-2000 average extent. By
contrast, Antarctic sea ice extent in May was 6.6 percent above the
1979-2000 average. Since 1979, May Arctic sea ice extent has decreased
by 2.5 percent per decade, while May Antarctic sea ice extent has
increased by 2.1 percent per decade during the same period.

*Based
on NOAA satellite observations, Northern Hemisphere snow cover last
month was the seventh lowest for May in the 1967-2009 period of record.
The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was 0.73 million square miles
below the 1967-2009 average of 7.8 million square miles.

NOAA
understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the
depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and
manages our coastal and marine resources.

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