Summer hasn’t arrived just yet, but it may feel like it has in some areas. Temperatures reached record highs in May, according to a new report.
The contiguous United States had its warmest May on record since 1934, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The average U.S. temperature for last month was 65.4 degrees, which was more than 5 degrees above the 20th century average.
Although the entire country experienced above average temperatures last month, much of the Midwest and parts of the South were much hotter than usual, the report revealed.
North Georgia had well above average temperatures along with much of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, and record warmth was observed for Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia.
Analysts noted that there were more than 8,590 daily warm temperature station records broken or tied during May. That figure was 18 times more than the 460 cold temperature station records for the month.
“We are going to continue to see records like this as naturally varying climate is amplified by human contributions to the climate,” Marshall Shepherd, the director of Atmospheric Studies at the University of Georgia, said.
In fact, he added that the next three months also have the likelihood of being warmer than normal. Much of the United States is predicted to experience above average temperatures between June and August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Shepherd also noted that seemingly unusual snowy winters or warm summers do not indicate climate change. For example, although last winter was the snowiest in four years for metro Atlanta, “it is not weird to have cold and snowy winters,” Shepherd explained.
“That was newsworthy, because they have been so warm,” he said. “A key point for the public is to understand that one day, week, or season doesn't define climate change. Weather is mood. Climate is personality. This is important to remember, so that people will not say, ‘oh, it is cold today, there is no global warming.’”
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