May of 2014 warmest May in recorded history

Global average surface temperature in the months of March, April, and May was also the highest since 1891

By Anushka Kaushik
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

The May of 2014 was the hottest in recorded history, according to data revealed by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and US' National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA).

Although NASA and JMA used different calculation methods to gauge average temperatures for the month, both arrived at the same conclusion. Combined global and land temperatures during May deviated by 0.76°C, the highest deviation since 1880. NASA’s data, however is subject to change as their analysis does not include reports and data from China and “current May 2014 data are therefore not directly comparable to previous records”.

The seasonal anomaly of the global average surface temperature in Spring (March to May) 2014 (the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.28°C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.69°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.75°C per century (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency)
The temperatures are said to be worsened because of the effects of El-Nino in the tropical Pacific region. The phenomenon, which refers to a warming of surface waters, may lead to 2014 becoming the warmest year in recorded history. The India Meteorological Department had also predicted decreased rainfall in various parts of the country due to the El-Nino effect.

Concerns over global warming and climate change have increased with JMA releasing a report on May 26, revealing an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm). The global average surface temperature in the months of March, April, and May was also the highest since 1891. It is also of significance that all 10 of the biggest temperature anomalies have occurred post 1995. Current global climate change policies and reduction in carbon emission plans, therefore, seem to be falling short.


IMD Forecast: Seasonal climate outlook for South Asia (April to July 2014)

Document: Studies say rising mercury levels could be connected to global warming

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  • Heat-Related Mortality in

    Heat-Related Mortality in India: Excess All-Cause Mortality Associated with the 2010 Ahmedabad Heat Wave


    In the recent past, spells of extreme heat associated with appreciable mortality have been documented in developed countries, including North America and Europe. However, far fewer research reports are available from developing countries or specific cities in South Asia. In May 2010, Ahmedabad, India, faced a heat wave where the temperatures reached a high of 46.8┬░C with an apparent increase in mortality. The purpose of this study is to characterize the heat wave impact and assess the associated excess mortality.


    We conducted an analysis of all-cause mortality associated with a May 2010 heat wave in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, to determine whether extreme heat leads to excess mortality. Counts of all-cause deaths from May 1ÔÇô31, 2010 were compared with the mean of counts from temporally matched periods in May 2009 and 2011 to calculate excess mortality. Other analyses included a 7-day moving average, mortality rate ratio analysis, and relationship between daily maximum temperature and daily all-cause death counts over the entire year of 2010, using month-wise correlations.


    The May 2010 heat wave was associated with significant excess all-cause mortality. 4,462 all-cause deaths occurred, comprising an excess of 1,344 all-cause deaths, an estimated 43.1% increase when compared to the reference period (3,118 deaths). In monthly pair-wise comparisons for 2010, we found high correlations between mortality and daily maximum temperature during the locally hottest ÔÇ£summerÔÇØ months of April (r = 0.69, p<0.001), May (r = 0.77, p<0.001), and June (r = 0.39, p<0.05). During a period of more intense heat (May 19ÔÇô25, 2010), mortality rate ratios were 1.76 [95% CI 1.67ÔÇô1.83, p<0.001] and 2.12 [95% CI 2.03ÔÇô2.21] applying reference periods (May 12ÔÇô18, 2010) from various years.


    The May 2010 heat wave in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India had a substantial effect on all-cause excess mortality, even in this city where hot temperatures prevail through much of April-June.

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