This is especially noteworthy because we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño. It is usually the combination of the underlying long-term warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records.
You may be wondering how the world is setting records for the warmest March, April, and May (the boreal spring) when it wasn’t particularly hot in the United States (assuming we ignore California and Alaska). It turns out there’s like a whole planet out there that has been getting very toasty:
The Siberian permafrost, for instance, has seen relatively sweltering temperatures. And that’s not good news since carbon emissions from the permamelt could add up to 1.5°F to total global warming by 2100 depending on how fast it defrosts.
The JMA is a World Meteorological Organization Regional Climate Center of excellence. In the coming days we will get reports from NASA and NOAA on May and spring temperatures. At this point, it looks like spring 2014 will be the second hottest on record in the NASA dataset and first or second for NOAA.
UPDATE 6/18: As expected, NASA reported that this was the hottest May on record (after reporting last month was the hottest April on record) — and the second hottest spring on record. NASA did point out on its website that some “missing data” from China meant their report was still preliminary. Given the unprecedented heat wave hitting much of China in May, that seems unlikely to change NASA’s final numbers much.
It seems all but certain more records will be broken in the coming months, as global warming combines with an emerging El Niño.