This year is on course to be the hottest year on record after data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that last month was the hottest since record keeping began in 1880.
During May 2015 the average temperature across global land and ocean surface were 0.87C above the 20th century average, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 by 0.14C. Land surface temperatures were particularly high, at 1.28C above the average, while sea surface temperature was 0.72C above average.
The increased temperatures during May have impacted on Arctic sea ice extent, which was 5.5% below the 1981-2010 average during the month. According to analysis by the national Snow and Ice Data Centre, this was the third smallest May extent since records began in 1979.
The figures from May are part of a longer trend, with temperatures being above average for the year to date. Between January and May average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 0.85C above the 20th century average and surpasses the previous record from 2010.
The UN ranked 2014 as the hottest year on record but figures for this year so far suggest 2015 could become the hottest on record. The organisation also noted that 14 of the 15 warmest years have occurred this century, demonstrating a continuing warming trend.
Photo: Gerwin Sturm via Flickr