Data: Last month was warmest May
According to new data released this week, May 2014 was officially the warmest May in recorded history.
Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.
Still, the fact that NASA and Japan used different calculation methods to arrive at similar results is telling. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration will release its estimate of May global temperatures next week, using a third method.
The exceptionally warm month was egged on by a building El Niño in the tropical Pacific. That extra El Niño-fueled ocean warmth is supercharging Earth's temperature, which could help make 2014 the warmest year since records have been kept — and probably for much longer.