May 2020 was the warmest May ever recorded, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service.
“May was 0.63°C warmer than the average May from 1981-2010, making it the warmest May in this data record,” ahead of May 2016 and May 2017, Copernicus said in a statement on Friday.
“The most above-average temperatures were recorded over parts of Siberia – where they were up to 10°C above average,” Copernicus said. Alaska and Antarctica reportedly also had notably higher temperature levels.
“The last twelve-month period (June 2019-May 2020) was close to 0.7°C warmer than average,” the service said, “matching the warmest twelve-month period (October 2015-September 2016)” on record.
The planet has warmed by more than 1°C since the pre-industrial era as a result of emissions of so-called greenhouse gases produced by human activity.
The change in temperature has led to an increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods.
At the end of May, there were fears of a drought in the province of Flemish Brabant, and several provinces were on high alert for a risk of forest fires, as this year’s month of May was the driest one in nearly 200 years, being beat only by May 1833.
2019 was the second warmest year in the world, after 2016, and experts expect the global average temperature to set a new record in the next five-year period (2020-2024).