Climate by the numbers
Season | March through May 2017
*Year to date | January through May 2017
- The average Arctic sea ice extent for May was 5.3 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the fifth smallest for the month since satellite records began in 1979. The average Antarctic sea ice extent was 10.6 percent below average, the second smallest on record for May behind 1980.
- Above-average snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere
Warmer-than-average lands and oceans
- The Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent was 9 percent above average, the 12th largest in the 51-year record. North America had its 18th largest snow cover, while Eurasia had its 12th largest.
Africa and South America lead continents in warmth rankings
- The globally averaged land-surface temperature (seventh warmest for the month of May) and the sea-surface temperature (third warmest) ranked second highest on record for the March-to-May season and the year to date.
- Africa had its warmest May on record; South America, its fourth; Asia, it’s ninth; North America, its 15th; Europe, its 16th (tied with 2014); and Oceania, its 20th.