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It's Official: July 2015 was not only the hottest month of July on record for the planet, but it also beat out every other climate record to become the hottest month, of any month, ever recorded.

Earth just had its hottest month of ANY month ever recorded

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Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Thursday, August 20, 2015, 12:09 PM - Three major climate records - from NASA, the Japan Meteorological Agency and now NOAA - all confirm: July 2015 was not only the hottest month of July on record for the planet, but it also beat out every other climate record to become the hottest month of any month ever recorded.

July 2015: Hottest month ever recorded

The month of July is typically the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere, however according to major climate centers around the world, July 2015 has shattered a number of records, including a very telling one:

  • July 2015 is the hottest month of July ever recorded, at 0.81oC above the 20th century average.

  • The May-June-July period was the hottest such period on record, at 0.85oC above the 20th century average

  • The January to July period was also the hottest such period on record, at 0.85oC above the 20th century average

  • July 2015 was the hottest month, of any month ever recorded, with a monthly average temperature of 16.61oC


July 2015 global temperatures vs 1981-2010 average. Credit: NOAA


July 2015 global temperatures vs 1981-2010 average. Credit: NASA


Credit: NOAA


Credit: JMA


Credit: NOAA

According to Jake Crouch, Climate Scientist with NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), who spoke to reporters during Thursday's NOAA briefing, this latest record very likely will make 2015 the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 for top spot on the list. 

How likely? During the briefing, NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden put the chances at 99 per cent.

In part, this is due to the near-record El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Crouch said.


Sea Surface Temperature anomalies in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Green box highlights the NINO3.4 region, which is used to gauge the strength of the El Niño pattern. Credit: NOAA

Racking up temperature record after temperature record is burying the claim of a "global warming pause" under mountains of data and evidence, showing that if there was a brief slowdown in rising temperatures, it is clearly over now.

What should the public take from this? Crouch's advice is to focus on the real-world effects these records are causing, such as those shown in the image below:


Credit: NOAA


Other Climate News

Up to a quarter of California's drought blamed on climate change


Credit: US Drought Monitor

Examining soil moisture records going back to the start of the 20th century, researchers compared rates of evaporation from the soil to climate models, to find out exactly how much of California's extreme drought can be attributed to climate change.

It has already been shown in previous research how climate change contributed to the drought, but this is the first attempt to actually quantify the contribution.

The researchers conclude that from 8 to 27 per cent of drought conditions from 2012 to 2014 were due to climate change, and between 5 to 18 per cent of drought conditions in 2014.

According to ThinkProgress.org, study lead author Park Williams, an assistant research professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute, likened climate change to a bully - "a bully that demands part of your money every year, and every year it demands more of your money than the year before. Every year, the bully - or atmosphere - is demanding more resources - or water - than ever before."

New, worrying estimate of Antarctic contribution to sea level rise

A new study has taken a high-resolution look at the decay of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS) due to rising global air and ocean temperatures, and has delivered an updated estimate of how much these glaciers will contribute to global sea level rise over the next two centuries.

“The 4th and 5th Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) both note that the acceleration of West Antarctic ice streams in response to ocean warming could result in a major contribution to sea-level rise, but that models were unable to satisfactorily quantify that response,” study lead Dr. Stephen Cornford, of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, said in a statement.

"We subjected an ice dynamics model to a range of ocean and atmospheric changes, ranging from no change at all, through the future changes projected by state-of-the-art ocean and atmosphere models, to extreme changes intended to study the upper reaches of future sea-level rise."

According to Bristol University News:

In their most extreme simulation, where the ice shelves progressively disintegrate over the next century, most of the major ice streams retreat by hundreds of kilometres.  The WAIS as a whole would contribute some 80,000 cubic kilometres of lost ice to sea-level rise by 2100 and 200,000 cubic kilometres by 2200. This corresponds to a 20cm increase in global sea level by the end of this century – sufficient to fill the Caspian Sea – and close to 50cm by 2200.  While these amounts would be enough to threaten low-lying cities and countries, the researchers point out this is an extreme scenario.

"The novel aspect of our work is the use of a high-resolution ice-sheet model over a larger area and longer time-scale than previously attempted," said Dan Martin, a study co-author from the California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, according to Bristol University News. "Much like a higher-resolution digital camera transforms a blur into a flock of birds, higher resolution in a computer model often helps to capture details of the physics involved which may be crucial to the broad picture."

Source: NOAA | NASA | JMA | ThinkProgressBristol University

Editor Note: A previous version of this article attributed the 99 per cent certainty for 2015 being the new warmest year on record to Nina Oakley, assistant research climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center. It was actually NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden. We apologize for any confusion.

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