On Monday it was confirmed that the Earth has broken an ominous climate milestone amid a wave of troubling records: July 2016 was the hottest recorded month—ever.
According to new NASA data, the global mean surface temperatures last month were 0.84° Celsius (1.51° Fahrenheit) above average and was the warmest July in their data set, which dates back to 1880.
This marks the 10th straight month to set a new monthly warming record, based on NASA's analysis. "Every month so far this year has been record hot," reported Climate Central's Andrea Thompson. "In NASA's data, that streak goes back to October 2015, which was the first month in its data set that was more than 1C hotter than average."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases its monthly temperature report on Wednesday and it is likely theirs will reflect a 15-month streak of record-shattering heat. (Some previous reporting on monthly records here, here, here, and here.)
What's more, because July is typically the hottest month of the year, it stands that July 2016 was "the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century," according to the U.K.-based Copernicus Climate Change Service (CCCS), which last week published similar temperature results.
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Global temperature usually peaks in July, when the land masses of the northern hemisphere are on average at their warmest. It varies by more than 3° C over the course of each year. The largest recent deviation from this annual cycle occurred in February this year, but July was still more than 0.5° C warmer than the 1981-2010 average for the month. This made July 2016 the warmest month of any in a data record that can be extended back to the nineteenth century.
"These record breaking extremes are the result of a cocktail of weather phenomenon and human activity," said CCCS head Jean-Noël Thépaut. "There are higher than average temperatures over the vast majority of land and sea masses."
Referencing the wildfires, heat-waves, marine "hot blobs," and other extreme weather events currently ravaging the planet and its inhabitants, Thépaut adds: "We're already seeing the human cost of hotter conditions."
The year 2015 was declared the hottest on record and scientists have said that 2016 will likely be even hotter. Announcing NASA's July data, climate scientist Gavin Schmidt had this to say about the likelihood of another record-smashing year:
July data are out, and what do you know, still 99% chance of a new annual record in 2016. pic.twitter.com/ndSsbYuedA
— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) August 15, 2016