Federal agency: May was second-warmest on record globally

Last month’s average global temperature made it the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May was second warmest on record for May, behind 2010, at 59.79°F (15.46°C) or 1.19°F (0.66°C) above the 20th century average,” NOAA said in its latest monthly analysis.

“Most areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including nearly all of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, most of North America and southern Greenland. Only Australia, Alaska and parts of the western U.S.-Canadian border region were notably cooler than average,” NOAA said in its summary of the data.

NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, noted that last month was the 36th consecutive May and 327th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.

The year-to-date globally has not been as close to record-setting, but is nearing the top 10. “On the heels of a relatively mild first quarter, warmth during April and May pushed 2012 close to a top 10 warm status for the year-to-date,” NOAA found.

The global temperature data follows a NOAA report a week ago that the United States has had its warmest spring, warmest year-to-date, and warmest 12-month stretch on record.

The data arrives amid political battles on Capitol Hill over climate change.

Next Tuesday a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will hold a hearing on EPA greenhouse gas regulations that Republicans and some Democrats allege will create economic burdens.

The GOP-led House has voted to overturn EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but the measure has not advanced in the Senate.