According to data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the global average temperature for last month (which was 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit/15.7 degrees Celsius) tied for the hottest May we've had in 141 years of record keeping. The last (and only other) time May was that warm was in 2016.
The NOAA added that the new figure is 1.7 degrees (almost one degree Celsius) warmer than the average one for the month recorded throughout the 20th century. While temperature on dry land tied a heat record, temperatures in the ocean rose up to their second-hottest May in recorded history.
According to two other independent analyses (namely the pair from NASA and Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service) this past May was the hottest on record. Their calculations had the 2020 edition of the month just a tick higher (a tenth of a degree) than the NOAA's count because of different ways those organizations calculate estimates in polar regions, and other areas where it's tough to pin a precise figure.
Not surprisingly, this bad news spread across the globe. Areas in Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and parts of western Europe hit peaks of record warmth (seen in that map above). The NOAA also compiled a number of climate anomalies that befell out planet in the same month:
"We continue to warm on the long term and in any given month we're likely to be knocking on the door, close to a record in the era that we're in," said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt, according to the Associated Press.
Arndt added that 2020 is likely to be one of the two hottest years dating abck to 1880.
Mays that have stretched across the seven-year period of 2014-2020 have been the seven warmest ever recorded. More recently, the three-month stretch from March through May was the second warmest on record, also behind the same period in 2016.