There are over two months left in the year, but that hasn’t stopped NASA from suggesting that 2016 will be the hottest on record. The planet has been on a heat streak for some time and the latest projections show that this September will the hottest in 136 years of record keeping – and it’s pretty safe to say that the entire year will follow suit.
Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), made a 99 percent certain prediction that 2016 would top the charts all the way back in May, and the newest GISS data shows he was right on track. Last month was .91 degrees Celsius above the baseline period average, coming in a .004 degree hair ahead of September, 2014. This individual month’s data, when added to the numbers recorded for the entire year, paint a fiery picture for climate change‘s effect on the entirety of 2016.
There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, as some do not believe 2017 will continue the trend. Jeremy Shakun, climate scientist from Boston College, told Gizmodo he believes the recent El Niño phenomenon contributed to higher temperatures this year and that next year will not be so dire. “Nonetheless,” he said, “the important thing is the long-term warming trend.” If we can continue racing to meet the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, we might have a fighting chance to stop the trend from continuing.