back to article May 2012 was second warmest on record. The warmest? 2010

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its monthly State of the Climate Global Analysis report for this May, and my, my, it's rather toasty out there: the month was the second warmest May since record-keeping began in 1880 – and the warmest was just two years ago. That conclusion of the report …


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  1. Graham Marsden

    For those who need reminding...

    ... Weather != Climate

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For those who need reminding...

      Except when a major environmental conference is imminent.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: For those who need reminding...

      Just because the two sets are not equal does not mean that they are entirely disjoint.

      How do you propose to apply the methods of experimental science to the current climate without taking any readings of current weather? Moreover, how much credence would you give to a climatologist who was spouting on the current climate but who freely admitted that they paid no attention to weather records?

      1. Code Monkey

        Re: For those who need reminding...

        How about we change it to "weather where you are != global climate" then?

      2. Tom 13

        Re: For those who need reminding...

        Can we quote you on that the next time someone mentions the coldest winter on record during a CO2 debate?

        Thought not.

        As for me, I'm sticking with what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

      3. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Down

        @Ken Hagen

        "How do you propose to apply the methods of experimental science to the current climate without taking any readings of current weather?"

        Did I say that? Err, no.

        Neither did I say that they were entirely unconnected. I am aware that Climate is Weather measured over a long period, unfortunately some people seem to think that just because we've had the wettest/ driest/ suniest/ whatever week on record that that means something.

  2. P. Lee

    Thanks for the summary

    but do we have the raw data available?

    If not, why not?

    1. Ian K
      Thumb Down

      Re: Thanks for the summary

      If you actually want an answer to that question have you considered following El Reg's link to the report, then reading the "Open Access to Data" paged referenced at the bottom of it?

      If not, why not?

  3. Dr Stephen Jones

    Mom, the planet is melting!

    Dr Phil Jones says there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years.

    This report confirms the trend.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Mom, the planet is melting!

      But your names Stephen according to your handle.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: Mom, the planet is melting!

        We are not related.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mom, the planet is melting!

      IIRC 15 years ago was a peak in the trend, now is a trough, if you compare the two years there ain't much warming, of you move a couple of years either way, there is significant warming.

      I also note lots of climate change sceptic people say that no-one actually claims there isn't warming, because there obviously is. The thing is that loads of people actually do claim there isn't warming.

  4. Martin Budden

    That's a big blue dot over my house.

    Although I didn't really need a diagram to tell me how frosty it's been at night. Brrrr.

    I'll get my coat, because it's COLD outside.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How refreshing to read a climate science article on the reg that sticks to the facts of the story, without drawing any ridiculous inferences or judgements from a single study. Please keep it like this, both sides of the AGW debate!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How refreshing to hear some climate alarmism on a site that usually rips junk science to shreds"

      Fixed it for ya.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You mean

        Lewis tells you everything you want to hear even though he cherry picks the info he wants to.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thing is, the world has, if I recall correctly, I may be wrong here, been around for a little longer then 140ish years. I could be wrong of course. So what do these number really tell us in the grand scheme of things?

    Anyhow, the issue isn't if the climate its changing it's what can be done in responce to it. People of the world as a whole aren't going to cut carbon production, far from it, unless a cheap alternative power source is created in the next 50 or so years. India, China, Africa and, South America are all up and coming and they'll be burning their way through various things trying to catch up with the west.

    Now the west may decide to try and do something but in reality without a viable alternative (ergo both practical and affordable) the only choice would be to plunge ourselves into poverty.

    So the question is how to engineer a way out of the problems caused by people wanting to live rich, toy filled, clean, warm (or cool), travelled, cultured, diverse, lives with lots of children. I'm no engineer and neither am I an expert on future power technologies. So I'll be of little help answering that question.

    The irony is that one of the foulest laws on the planet (China's 1 child policy, unless you're rich and can pay the fine) is the most effective law to reduce long term effects of humans by reducing our numbers, and that's not a pleasent thought, being forced to live like a Chinese villager from the 1980s (as I'm including the lack of food, heating, concrete, shelter, transport, education, etc..., that'll also be included).

    1. Schultz

      What can be done:

      (1) Export all resource intensive production to Asia

      (2) Feel good about reduced environmental impact of our western economy

      (3) Blame Asian countries for destroying the world

      Sounds like a way to happiness and karmic balance!

      1. Wombling_Free
        Thumb Down

        Re: What can be done:

        Er, isn't that what the West has been doing for about the past 40 years?

  7. SuperTim

    May...Yes I recall...

    I didn't have to wade through the drought that month!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Foulest law?

    How is China's 1 child policy the foulest law on the planet?

    Without arguing about how it is enforced, or how corrupt the system is that allows certain people to get around it (which are both separate arguments), the law itself simply seeks to remove a "freedom" from individuals that causes harm to society.

    In the west we have many similar "freedoms" that we take for granted, but are perhaps not so beneficial and other cultures would treat differently.

    Marriage for instance - we tend to look with abhorrence on arranged marriages, but in for example India, it is a fact that their system works better than our hormonal driven one in keeping families together.

    The Soviet Union used to have a law making unemployment illegal - this often involved shipping workers off to Collective Farms - perhaps not so pleasant for those individuals, but it certainly worked better for the country as a whole than the mess that occurred when they stopped this practise.

    It really boils down to whether the "rights" of the individual outweigh the welfare of society.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Foulest law?

      "How is China's 1 child policy the foulest law on the planet?

      Without arguing about how it is enforced, or how corrupt the system is that allows certain people to get around it (which are both separate arguments), the law itself simply seeks to remove a "freedom" from individuals that causes harm to society."

      It isn't foul, but for a country so large; it's the only way to manage their government policies on education, employment, health etc. If every female in China had 3 or 4 kids, it would become unmanagable. This begs the question, are countries like China and Russia too big? Personally, yes they are. Only USA can manage their vast land/people mass is because they devolve the power to each state which in turn is a country in itself. For countries like the UK, this isn't such a problem as immigration poses a larger threat than if we had a self-population boom.

      "Marriage for instance - we tend to look with abhorrence on arranged marriages, but in for example India, it is a fact that their system works better than our hormonal driven one in keeping families together."

      It works better for the selfish parents in India who only want more money/power fed into their family tree. That's my personal perception of arranged marriages. No human being should be dictated on who their life partner should be. If there was some form of choice for the female child, maybe it would be much more acceptable. But however, is there any other mammal on this planet who does this?

      "The Soviet Union used to have a law making unemployment illegal - this often involved shipping workers off to Collective Farms - perhaps not so pleasant for those individuals, but it certainly worked better for the country as a whole than the mess that occurred when they stopped this practise.

      It really boils down to whether the "rights" of the individual outweigh the welfare of society."

      A balanced society is almost the most fairest one. Where some of these laws and acceptable points of behaviour are adopted, most likely that society is unbalanced. Whether that is too bigger population, or a huge dominance of religion in some aspect.

      The world is becoming unbalanced, yes. Too much resource hogging, wastage and dispensation is killing the planet slowly. However, slashing someone's rights in favour of welfare has to be done accordingly and with the feeling of the majority. China doesn't count anyway because the minority of bigots choose how they perceive things.

      Anyway, drink a beer later today and have a rethink.

      1. Dr Stephen Jones

        Re: Foulest law?

        So you're slightly less fascist than the OP but are still happy to destroy human rights when it suits you.

        Not cool.

    2. The Axe

      Re: Foulest law?

      Oh God!, so many wrongs in your comment.

      China's 1 child law is extremely foul. It is the state deciding what individual can and can't do. And to make it work requires such draconian laws that it's totally out of step with the benefits. Do you know what's the most effective way in cutting back on family size? Progress thats what. As a country gets a higher GDP, it's birth rate drops. Purely and simply because people live longer, health is better so child mortality is better, there is no need to have lots of children tilling the subsistence farms. In a developed country, lots of children is a hinderance (except when the country happily pays lots of money to families to keep them from working and keep them breeding).

      Marriage. Arranged marraiges do not work better than hormonal driven ones. What makes marriages work is both sides working together. The reason why marriages in the west break down so often is because no one takes responsibility for their own actions anymore. It's always someone elses fault. Also, too much is seen in marriage as a life long committment when in fact people change over time. If the couple accept that and work with it, then the marriage lasts. If one side does not change, then the marriage breaks down. And arranged marriages do nothing about stopping affairs.

      Collective farms were the worst possible thing both for people and the state. You think it's ok for people to suffer just so that the state can do better? Just not right at all. You do not control the lives of people and make them suffer just so that others can feel better. The mess that occured after the fall the Union was nothing to do with the fact that the farms worked before. The farms did not work before and only limped along with massive state control. When the control disappeared then the farms naturally fell in the mess.

      The rights of the individual always outweigh the welfare of the society. That's because when all individuals have their rights respected then society is also in a good state.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'it is a fact that their system works better than our hormonal driven one in keeping families together.'

    It's also a fact that this is usually achieved by beating the wife senseless when she steps out of line or killing her if she finds love and wants to be with someone she loves rather than in a loveless abusive marriage. It's also a fact that their daughters can be tortured and killed for daring to find someone they love rather than the person their father says they have to marry, especially if they are not of the right caste.

    Collective farms, again what a brilliant idea. Thousands of people who know nothing about farming, land management, irrigation or any of the other things that produce healthy abundant harvests making a complete mess of the farmland. Ask Zimbabwe how that has gone for them when they kicked out the people who know how to manage the land and gave it to the people who didn't. They have gone from a surplus of food to famine conditions.

    That's really good for the welfare of society isn't it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see you prefer to use anecdotes rather than statistics to prove your case.

    Have you ever even spoken to Indians about their culture? Or do you just read the Daily Mail and decide that every other country in the world is screwed up because our way is always right?

    I'm sure there are problems as you suggest within certain arranged marriages, but there are equally the same problems over here - my upstairs neighbour for example freely chose her husband, but still gets regularly beaten by him.

    And exactly how much Russian history do you know? The abolition of collective farms in russia led to serious food shortages and starvation - perhaps this is a good thing in your eyes?

    Why bring Zimbabwe into it? Because if something doesn't work in every culture it is somehow wrong?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't find what I was looking for

      I have seen a report produced by the indian government that shows just how bad the situation is but I can't find it now. Instead here is a link to a nice easily read BBC page

      Oh and one from here that shows that indian men really don't like it when their women get educated

      No anecdotal Daily Mail 'evidence' needed. Try doing some researching yourself before coming out with such shit

    2. fixit_f

      I agree with town crier

      Just because something doesn't fit with the collective sensibilities that we've been brought up with doesn't mean that it shouldn't at least be examined rationally before being found wanting. No I wouldn't want my wife picked for me either, but that's because I've been brought up with the expectation that I should find my own.

      With regard to China's 1 child policy - yes, obviously it's led to some awful things happening in China, because it's been implemented badly. However, unless we start colonising space PDQ it seems fairly obvious that we're running out of ways to engineer around a fundamental lack of resources for even the population that we have now. World population has apparently pretty much doubled since the late 70's, and it doesn't seem likely that people (either in the West or emerging economies) are going to voluntarily start using less resources to compensate for this anytime soon. Controlled population reduction policies in the future would seem to be likely I'd say, distasteful though the idea may be to many.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I agree with town crier

        Saddly one thing is constant humans are emotional beings, it's (one of the many things that) seperates us from computers. If we were all purely rational beings none of this would be an issue.

        Also a major problem with limiting the population (even if you can enforce it perfectly fairly and have it universaly appreciated by the population and don't need to use inhuman methods to maintain it) is that you'll end up with a tipping point where the population of able bodied working people drops below a level where they can support the elderly and those otherwise incapable of contributing to the productivity of the nation.

      2. elderlybloke

        Re: I agree with town crier


        China certainly doesn't do things the way we do in the West, but now the people are much better fed etc. than in the not to distant past.

        Famine with millions of dead and the Cultural Revolution have been replaced by what seems to be Capitalism,and it is working well

        Will soon be a bigger economy than America.

        I am well of the subject of this thread but it's all good fun

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My dead friend

      Speaking as someone with a dead friend, assassinated along with his wife by his wife's brother and father - in a public place - as part of a conspiracy of her entire family, I would like to add ...

      Arranged marriages are about as evil as it gets, and the primordal (in this case Pakistani) invididuals who practice this deserve nothing less than our contempt.

      RIP to my friend and his innocent wife.

      Anon: You never know who is reading ...

  11. MonkeyBot


    "ranks and anomalies may change as more complete data are received and processed."

    They really shouldn't have to add that at the end - it's just a given for rational thought.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Caveat

      No, this being the US government, it is required. Too many reports get released to Big! Important! Progressive! Agenda! Headlines!, only to be quietly revised in the opposite direction later. Last time I checked that had been the case for the last 42 Dept of Labor reports on employment. And yes, it is possible to flip a fair coin and wind up 102,410,241 consecutive heads, but when it happens you usually check the coin to make sure it is fair.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Fuck head

    Of course in the UK - women simply live in marital bliss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck head

      But at least they have the right to walk away if they can and there are many people and organisations to help them do so. Here people will help to keep the abusive partner away, over there the culture is the other way around and people are more likely to call her a bad wife and take her straight back.

      And Fuck Head? The level of your intellect astounds me, please give us more of your pearls of wisdom so we can bask in their genius.

      You don't happen to be an Indian male do you?

  13. theastrodragon

    According to their data, there is a lovely medium sized red dot over the UK, indicating we had a warmer than average May.

    Really? This is the May where I had to keep the heating on for the first time many years.

    I'd love to know where the magic hot areas in the UK were - maybe on top of the Met Office roof next to the heating outlets...?

    Now granted the UK is only a small part of the global picture - but if I can see the bit where I live is living in fantasy land, how much belief can I place in the rest of the data? Particularly in the data such as the arctic where they dont have any measuring stations anyway...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How much heat does your house leak?

      I am also in the UK (North West) and turned my heating off at the beginning of March. Haven't had to touch it since and I really don't do being cold.

    2. NomNomNom

      "The UK mean temperature was 0.5 °C above the 1971–2000 average, the very warm spell towards the end of the month offsetting the earlier cool conditions. "

  14. IDoNotThinkSo

    May was 0.3C below average in England (the CET series) - the warm period at the end rescued it from being much worse.

    How this converts to a red dot I have no idea at all.

    I don't think sea temperatures were particularly high either.

    1. NomNomNom

      CET has May as 0.5C warmer than average

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. IDoNotThinkSo

        Yes, you are right. I'm sure I saw it as colder when I checked a week or two ago. Maybe I got confused with April, which was definitely below average, but still led to a red dot on the map:

        My personal weather station was below average for May, though.

        1. NomNomNom

          hmm that does indeed look incorrect

          Even using the same 1971-2000 baseline as the NOAA, the UK Met Office has significantly colder than average in all regions for April:

  15. Wombling_Free

    Are we still on about 'Global Warming'?

    FFS, Climate CHANGE is the issue.

    Some bits get warmer, some get colder - the problem is the vast majority of the planet's food production is based on long term weather climate forecasts.

    If you can't predict what the climate is going to be for the next decade or so; food production worldwide MIGHT be totally fucked. MIGHT BE.

    Do you feel lucky?

    Well, do ya, punk?

    1. Dr Stephen Jones

      Actually I do

      Given that your evidence so far is computer models (wrong), inflated proxy records (debunked) and statistical processing, I feel as lucky as a bag of Shamrocks.

      "food production worldwide MIGHT be totally fucked. MIGHT BE"

      No, it won't, and only an easily manipulated or irrational person would think so.

      Dry sheets for the bedwetter please.

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Actually I do

        "No, it won't"

        Your confidence is misplaced.

        Entire ecosystems could be overturned this century by the changes taking place. If that happens it's not clear how crops will fair.

        All plants including crops will be directly affected by rising CO2 both due to CO2 plant fertilization and changes in weather and local climate as a result of global warming. On top of that those changes will also impact insects and pests, which will also themselves be affected by the weather and local climate changes and then of course insects and pests affect the crops and other plants. At the same time we have species shifting polewards. Some just can't move north fast enough. As a result of this new species are coming into contact with one another and competing.

        The sum of all this chaos could indeed mean that entire ecosystems are radically different by the end of this century than now. So I don't think you should be so sure crops will be okay. I mean the only way to know for sure crops will be okay is if we have accurate computer models of ecosystem changes under elevated CO2 that show crops will do fine. But we don't do we?

  16. The Axe

    Climate is loooooong, weather is short

    So we've decided that the weather pattern over a few decades equals climate. And over that short period of time we're in a time when temperatures are warm. Well surprise surprise, it's a short period so very likely. The longer the period, and go back further than 1800s and you'll find that todays temperatures aren't that unusual. Weather might be unusual from time to time, lows some, highs other. but it doesn't make climate.

    Climate is something that occurs over many many hundreds of years.

    1. Dr Stephen Jones

      Re: Climate is loooooong, weather is short

      "Climate is something that occurs over many many hundreds of years"

      You got 2 downvotes for that.

      Rik Myslewski really is drawing in the Cream of the internet.

  17. heyrick Silver badge

    Is this May the same May I just experienced?

    [northwest France] Chilly, miserable, much worse than the end of March. My rice isn't growing, the beans are unhappy, it's only the bloody weeds growing...

  18. Dick Emery


    So we are to understand that the measurement of 'global' temperature was as accurate back in 1880 to say the 1950's as it is now? Call me pessimistic. But perhaps it's just that we can more accurately measure global temperature now than back then. I'm not convinced. Yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time=accuracy

      So are we to understand that you don't think climate scientists have actually considered that possibility? That there might be uncertainty (in both directions) in older records? That we should look at multiple sources of evidence in order to calibrate older records?

      Or do you have some reason to believe that older records are systematically low (which is what would be required to make the warming trend look worse)?

    2. GrantB

      Re: Time=accuracy

      Ever heard of error bars?

      The scientists doing the work applying statistical models to account of this kind of change in measurement over time. Having thousands of measurements also helps as some will read high, others low to cancel out.

      Then people like Lewis accuse them of 'fudging the data' or 'its just a model'. <sigh>

  19. Jim Birch

    How long is climate?

    Climate is the weather averaged over a sufficiently long period that we don't have to worry about it.

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