Newly released data from NASA indicates July was the hottest month on record, since scientists began tracking global temperatures in 1880. This July was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average, and a fraction of a degree hotter than the two months tied for the previous “hottest month ever” record. The conflux of climate change related to human activity and the warming effects of El Niño contributed to this summer’s soaring temperatures, and climate experts expect to see more record high temps in the future.
If it seems as though there have been a lot of record-breaking high temps lately, it’s because there have. July was the 10th consecutive record hot month in a row, according to NASA. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hasn’t yet released its temperature calculations for July, but they are expected on Wednesday of this week. NOAA uses slightly different calculations, compared to NASA, so its conclusions may not match up. (For example, NOAA’s figures count 14 consecutive monthly heat records before July, compared to NASA’s 10.)
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Despite this year’s El Niño season loosening its grip on the weather, global temperatures continue to rise. NASA looks to a number of factors when calculating its global temperatures, including surface temperatures and the extent of Arctic sea ice. Over the first six months of 2016, NASA reports temperatures were the highest average of any six-month period since record keeping began.
Images via Swen George/Flickr