Our global temperature continued its upward trend last month with October 2015 marking the warmest October ever recorded for the entire planet.
According to the State of the Climate report by NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, Earth’s combined average temperature for the month – over both land and sea surfaces – was 58.86°F, which is a whopping 1.76°F above the 20th century average. It surpassed the previous record set in October 2014 by 0.36°F. It also marked the highest departure from average for any month on record, eclipsing the previous record set just last month. October was also the sixth consecutive month this year to break a monthly temperature record.
Although strong El Niño conditions – a natural climate phenomena that boosts oceanic and atmospheric temperatures – helped fuel October’s record warmth, it does not tell the whole story. The long-term trend of human-caused climate change was also a key factor. NOAA reports that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred since 2000 and they were not all El Niño years.
While heat dominated most of the planet last month, some places were particularly warm, including most of Australia and North America. Here in the contiguous United States, with an average temperature of 57.4°F, it was our fourth warmest October on record and the warmest since 1963.
Year to date, the first ten months of 2015 were the warmest of any year on record. This strengthens the likelihood that 2015 will surpass 2014 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.