Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with July 2015 marking not only the warmest July on record, but the warmest month ever recorded for the entire planet.
According to a report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 61.86°F, which is 1.46°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set in 1998, which was also an El Niño year, by 0.14°F.
July 2015 also marked the 39th consecutive July that our global temperature was above its long-term norm. NOAA says that July – which is climatologically the planet’s warmest month – has been getting hotter over the years. Records show that the temperature for the month is currently increasing at an average rate of 1.17°F per century.
For the oceans, the globally averaged sea surface temperature for the month was 1.35°F above the 20th century average of 61.5°F. That is the highest departure on record for any month. According to NOAA, the ten highest monthly departures from average for ocean temperatures have all occurred since April 2014.
While heat dominated most of the planet in July, some places were particularly warm. Heat waves in Europe pushed temperatures to record levels across the region. In fact, it was the warmest July on record for both Austria and Spain. Here in the contiguous US, temperatures were slightly warmer than average, but no state set a new record high. This difference highlights the fact that climate change is a complex global phenomenon that involves much more than what is happening in our own backyards.
Year to date, the first seven months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. Global temperature records date back to 1880.