8 other facts about rising global temperatures

A boy throws to the basket as the setting sun illuminates low clouds at an outdoor basketball court in Sydney's beachside suburb of Cronulla, on June 12, 2014. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney has recorded its warmest May o
A boy throws to the basket as the setting sun illuminates low clouds at an outdoor basketball court in Sydney's beachside suburb of Cronulla, on June 12, 2014. According to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney has recorded its warmest May on record, with mean maximum temperatures of 23.2 deg C, 3.8 deg C above the historical average and 0.5 deg C above the previous record, set in 2007. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

If you were feeling extra hot under the collar last month, it wasn't just your imagination.

May 2014 had the highest temperature of all previous Mays in recorded history, according to data from the National Climatic Data Centre and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

With the world getting warmer, we tell you eight other interesting facts about rising global temperatures:

1. The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for the month of May this year was 0.74 deg C higher than the 20th century average of 14.8 deg C.

2. Last month was the 39th consecutive May and 351st consecutive month which had a global temperature above the 20th century average.

3. The global land surface temperature in May was the fourth highest recorded temperature for the month, at 1.13 deg C above the 20th century average of 11.1 deg C.

4. May's global sea surface temperature was the record highest for May, at 0.59 deg C above the 20th century average of 16.3 deg C. This ties with June 1998, October 2003, and July 2009 as the highest departure from average for any month.

5. The average May temperature in South Korea was a record high for the country, at 1.2 deg C above the 1981 to 2010 average.

6. Australia's nationally averaged May temperature was the third highest in the country's 105 years of record, at 1.62 deg C above the 1961 to 1990 average. Australia's east coast has also been experiencing an autumn heatwave, with the dry conditions increasing the risk of fires, possibly increasing agricultural losses and endangering fauna like flying foxes, birds and marsupials.

7. The fifth warmest period on record was from January to May this year, at 0.66 deg C above the 20th century average of 13.1 deg C.

8. The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature from March to May was the second warmest such period on record, behind 2010. The temperature was 0.74 deg C above the 20th century average of 13.7 deg C.

feliciac@sph.com.sg