Global Temperature Trend Update—June, 2010

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Every month University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer report the latest global temperature trends from satellite data. Below are the newest data updated through May, 2010.

The data for the chart can be found here. The UAH press release puts the recent temperatures in context:

First five months of 2010 [are] second warmest on record

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

May temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.53 C (about 0.95 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for May.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.78 C (about 1.40 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for May.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.29 C (about 0.52 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for April.

Tropics: +0.71 C (about 1.28 degrees Fahrenheit) above 20-year average for May.

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 20-year average (1979-1998) for the month reported.)

The press release included these notes on recent temperature trends:

In the race to become the warmest year in the satellite temperature record, 2010 is running a close second to 1998 but might begin to falter as the El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event continues to fade, according to Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Through the first 151 days of the year (Jan. 1 through May 31), 2010 has averaged 0.59 C warmer than season norms. Global average temperatures through the first five months of 1998 were 0.65 C warmer than normal.

The chance that 2010 will set a record drops as the El Nino warming event fades and the Central Pacific Ocean cools. NOAA has issued a "watch" for a La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event.

For the third time in the past four months a new high temperature has been set for the Arctic. Temperatures in the Arctic — latitude 60 N (about even with Helsinki and the southern tip of Greenland) to the North Pole — were a full two and a half degrees Celsius (about 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for that region.

May 2010 set records as the warmest May in the 32-year satellite temperature record for both the Northern Hemisphere (+0.78 C) and the northern temperate zone, also +0.78 C.

Compared to the other 31 Mays in the record, May 2010 was the second warmest May globally (+0.53 C), and in the tropics (+0.81 C); fourth warmest May in the Southern Hemisphere (+0.29 C); and seventh coolest May in both the Southern Polar region (-0.86 C) and the continental U.S., where the average temperature was 0.47 C cooler than seasonal norms.

The top warmest months for various regions are also listed:

Global Temperature Anomalies
   Year   Mo
 1. 1998   4  +0.76
 2. 1998   2  +0.76
 3. 2010*  3  +0.66
 4. 1998   5  +0.65
 5. 2010*  1  +0.64
 6. 2010*  2  +0.61
 7. 1998   1  +0.58
 8. 1998   6  +0.57
 9.*2010*  5  +0.54
10. 1998   3  +0.53
11. 1998   7  +0.52
12. 1998   8  +0.52
13. 2007   1  +0.51
14. 2010*  4  +0.5
15. 2009   9  +0.5
16. 2009  11  +0.5
17. 2005  10  +0.47
18. 2005   4  +0.46
19. 2003  12  +0.45
20. 1998   9  +0.45


Temperature Anomalies
  in the Tropics
   Year   Mo
 1. 1998   2   +1.3
 2. 1998   1   +1.09
 3. 1998   4   +1.06
 4. 1998   3   +1.05
 5. 1998   5   +0.89
 6. 2010*  2   +0.81
 7. 2010*  3   +0.73
 8. 1997  12   +0.73
 9.*2010*  5   +0.72
10. 2010*  1   +0.66
11. 2010*  4   +0.65
12. 1987  12   +0.62


Arctic Temperature Anomalies
   Year   Mo
 1.*2010   5   +2.51
 2. 2010*  4   +2.45
 3. 2010*  2   +2.3
 4. 2007   4   +2.27
 5. 1995   4   +2.26
 6. 2006   2   +2.24
 7. 2009  12   +2.09
 8. 2005  12   +2.06
 9. 1996  11   +2.01
10. 2001  12   +1.94
11. 2003  10   +1.83
12. 2005   4   +1.81
13. 2005  11   +1.8
14. 2010*  1   +1.79
15. 2002  10   +1.73
16. 1981   1   +1.72
17. 2005   5   +1.72
18. 2010*  3   +1.72
19. 1980   2   +1.72
20. 2002  11   +1.72