We suspected it was coming, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just confirmed: July 2015 was, without a doubt, the hottest month in recorded history. Hot damn.
In its monthly State of the Climate Summary report, the NOAA confirms that this past July was the hottest month ever since we began keeping meteorological records 136 years ago. The combined average temperature over the global land and ocean surfaces in July was 0.81°C above the 20th century average of 15.8°C, which bests the previous record set in 1998 by 0.08°C. Temperature anomalies across the Earth are summarised in the map below:
Nine of the ten hottest months on record have occurred since 2005, and the first seven months of 2015 are the hottest January–July span on record. That means 2015 is very well poised to become the hottest year on record, as well.
Global averages aside, it’s been summer filled with weird and extreme weather phenomena, including record-smashing heat waves in India and the Middle East, unprecedented wildfires across the Pacific Northwest, and the extraordinarily rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice. And the weirdness shows no sign of slowing down as drought-stricken California prepares for the “Godzilla” El Niño expected to hit this autumn.
NOAA has summarised a few of the notable anomalies for us:
All of this is in advance of the Paris climate conference this December, which many experts say is humanity’s last opportunity to get its act together and come up with a comprehensive action plan that’ll prevent catastrophic climate change over the 21st century. If we needed any more reminders that Paris matters a lot, the new report is chock full of evidence that we’re pushing our planet in a hot, uncomfortable, and very dangerous direction.
Then again, so were the last 180-ish State of the Climate Summary reports we’ve had since 2000–which, by the by, document 13 of the 15 warmest years on record. Apparently, extremes don’t really faze us so much these days.
For the extended analysis of the state of Earth’s climate, check out NOAA’s full report.