WASHINGTON : Last month was the hottest May in modern history, marking the 13th consecutive month that global heat records have been shattered, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.

"The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for May 2016 was the highest for the month of May in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880," the agency said in a statement.

May's combined average temperature came to 1.57 degrees Fahrenheit (0.87 Celsius) above the 20th-century average for the month of 58.6 degrees Fahrenheit (14.8 Celsius).

That was 0.04 degrees Fahrenheit (0.02 Celsius) above the previous record for a month of May set last year.

May 2016 tied with June and August 2015 as the 12th-highest monthly temperature departure on record, the NOAA said.

Overall, 13 of the 15 monthly high-temperature records have taken place since February 2015, it added.

The average land surface temperature for May 2016 was 2.11 degrees Fahrenheit (1.17 Celsius) above the 20th century's average of 52.0 degrees Fahrenheit (11.1 Celsius), the third highest on record after 2012 and 2015.

The average sea surface temperature was the highest on record at 1.37 degrees Fahrenheit (0.76 Celsius) above the 20th century average of 61.3 degrees Fahrenheit (16.3 Celsius), beating the previous record in 2015 by 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 Celsius).