Breaking Records Consistently 

Congratulations, mankind! We have once again broken our own record.

Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies Gavin Schmidt tweeted the news earlier this week: July 2016 was the hottest month to be ever recorded. According to NASA, July 2016 was 0.84°C (1.51°F) warmer than the 1950 to 1980 global average – and 0.11°C (0.2°F) warmer than the previous record of the previous hottest-ever months, July 2011 and July 2015.

The NASA records also indicate that July 2016 was the 10th month in a row to experience record-breaking temperatures.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calculates temperatures slightly differently, and their records show that there have been 14 consecutive record-breaking months before July. The most recent NOAA data confirms July, 2016 as the 15th month.

Cause of the Massive Hot Streak

Credit: Manish Swarup/Associated Press

The relentless rise of global temperature was caused by a combination of global warming and El Niño, which warms the water across the Pacific ocean, changing the weather worldwide. Although El Niño has already dissipated, the effects in global temperatures can lag for three months and we can still feel the residual heat during that period.

As for Andrea Thompson at Climate Central, we can’t blame it all on the intense El Niño. She says, “While El Niño provided a boost to global temperatures this year, the bulk of the heat is what has been trapped by accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

With the release of this month’s data, Schmidt stated that there is 99% chance of a new annual record this year. Schmidt also says in an interview, “This new record and all the records that have been broken recently tell one cohesive story. The planet is getting warmer. It’s important for what it tells us about the future.” 

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