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Earth had 3rd-warmest May on record

6:36 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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The globe tied for its third-warmest May on record, according to data released today by the National Climatic Data Center. Only May 2010 and May 2012 were warmer.

May 1998 and May 2005 were equally warm.

Several regions around the world experienced record warmth in May, including parts of Siberia, Australia, northern and eastern Europe, northern Africa, northeastern China, the Philippines and northern South America, the climate center reported.

The world's chilliest spot in May was western Greenland, where record cold was reported. Parts of southern Europe were also nippy: Spain had its coldest May since 1985.

Overall, May marked the 339th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th-century average, according to the climate center. The most recent cooler-than-average month was May 1976.

In the USA, May was slightly warmer than average, with a national average temperature just 0.9 degree above average, according to the climate center's report. 

For meteorological spring -- the months of March, April and May -- the globe had its eighth-warmest spring on record. The USA had an unusually chilly spring, with many central and southeastern U.S. states seeing one of their 10 coolest springs on record.

As for precipitation, while the upper Midwest saw a very wet spring, most states in the Southwest and Intermountain West had below-average rain and snowfall. The dry spring exacerbated drought conditions in the West.

Thursday's U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly federal website that tracks drought across the nation, showed a familiar sight: a drought-free eastern half of the country, and a very dry, drought-plagued western half. Every state east of the Mississippi River is free of drought, while nearly every state to the west of the Mississippi is showing some level of drought conditions.

"After an underwhelming winter overall, temperatures have really increased across the Four Corners region, escalating fire and range condition concerns as we move into summer," writes climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in the Monitor. "This region is quickly becoming home to the new epicenter of the 2013 drought."

Looking ahead, the rest of summer is predicted to be warmer-than-average in most of the western USA, southern Florida, and New England, according to the Climate Prediction Center. No part of the country is expected to be cooler-than-average. As for precipitation, the Pacific Northwest and western Texas are forecast to be drier-than-average, while the Southeast should be wetter-than-average.

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Gannett/USA Today

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