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Weather tracker: May sets new global temperature record
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Weather tracker: May sets new global temperature record

May 2024 has set a new global temperature record, with an average surface air temperature of 15.91C. This figure is 0.65C above the 1991-2020 average for May and 0.19C higher than the previous record set in May 2020. This continues a remarkable series, as it marks the 12th consecutive month of record-breaking warmth for each respective month.

The significance of May 2024’s temperature extends beyond recent records. It is 1.52C above the estimated average for May during the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900, underscoring the long-term impact of global warming. Additionally, the global average temperature for the past 12 months (June 2023-May 2024) reached an unprecedented level, standing 0.75C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.63C above the pre-industrial baseline. This period represents the highest annual average temperature recorded, highlighting an alarming trend in climate change.

In Europe, May 2024 was notably warm, with average temperatures 0.88C above the 1991-2020 average for May. This makes it the third warmest May in history for the continent. While temperatures soared in many regions, the eastern equatorial Pacific showed below-average temperatures, suggesting a developing La Niña event.

However, air temperatures over the ocean remained unusually high in many areas, contributing to the overall global temperature increase. Sea surface temperatures (SST) also hit a new high in May 2024 despite the developing La Niña as the average SST over the area between 60 degrees south and 60 degrees north was 20.93C, the highest ever recorded for May.

This marks the 14th consecutive month that SSTs have set a new record for their respective months, indicating a persistent and worrying trend of ocean warming.

Extreme heat has continued into early June for many parts of the world, with heatwaves gripping southern parts of Europe, the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It was reported that in just the first six days of June, 80 countries had already broken monthly or all time temperature records.

In Egypt, temperatures reached an all-time record of 50.9C in Aswan on Friday 7 June, exceeding the previous national high of 50.3C from 1961 in Kharga. Additionally, this has set a new record for the highest temperature ever reliably recorded across the whole of Africa for the month of June.

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It is also very hot around the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean too as further temperature records are expected to fall during the rest of the month with no signs of the relentless heat to end anytime soon.

Source: theguardian.com