May 2020 was hottest May on record

May 2020 was hottest May on record

May 2020 was hottest May on record – “The really large anomalies started during January, and since then this signal has been quite persistent”

By Kelly Macnamara and Marlowe Hood
5 June 2020

Global surface temperature anomaly for May relative to 1981-2000 average, 1980-2020. May 2020 was the warmest May on record. Data: Copernicus Climate Change Service. Graphic: AFP

Desdemona Despair,


PARIS (AFP) – Temperatures soared 10 degrees Celsius above average last month in Siberia, home to much of Earth’s permafrost, as the world experienced its warmest May on record, the European Union’s climate monitoring network said Friday.

Large swathes of Siberia have been unusually warm for several months running, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported.

The really large anomalies started during January, and since then this signal has been quite persistent,” C3S senior scientist Freja Vamborg told AFP.

Temperatures reached close to 10C above the 1981-to-2010 average over parts of the Ob and Yenisei rivers, which have seen record-early break-up of ice, C3S said in a statement.

Map showing surface air temperature anomaly for May 2020 relative to the May average for the period 1981-2010. May 2020 was the hottest May on record. Data: ERA5. Graphic: Copernicus Climate Change Service / ECMWF

The collapse of a reservoir some 800 kilometres (500 miles) further north last week — leading to 21,000 tonnes of diesel fuel polluting a river near the Arctic city of Norilsk — has been linked by Russian officials to melting permafrost.

Globally, Earth’s average surface temperature for the 12 months to May 2020 is close to 1.3C above preindustrial levels, the benchmark by which global warming is often measured, according to the new data.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries have pledged to cap the rise in Earth average surface temperature to “well below” 2C, and to 1.5C if possible.

The heatwave across parts of Siberia and Alaska will cause particular alarm in regions that were engulfed by huge forest fires last year fuelled by record heat, and where Copernicus has warned that “zombie” blazes smouldering underground may be reigniting.

Globally, May was 0.63C warmer than the average May from 1981 to 2010, with above average temperatures across parts of Alaska, Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Antarctica. […]

The last five years have been the hottest on record, as has been the last decade. [more]

Warmest May on record, Siberia 10C hotter

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