Temperatures around the globe soared last month. In fact, September 2016 was the second warmest September 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 60.6°F. That is 1.60°F above the 20th-century average and only 0.07°F shy the record that was set last year.
This second place finish effectively ends a 16-month stretch of record warm global monthly temperatures – the longest such streak on NOAA’s books.
While heat dominated most of the planet this September, some places were particularly warm. Several countries in Europe posted readings that were among their top five warmest for the month. These included Germany, the UK, France, Holland, and Austria. Here in the contiguous US, it was our ninth warmest September on record.
These soaring temperatures are attributed to the long-term trend of human-caused climate change. Whereas El Niño gave global temperatures a boost earlier in the year, it dissipated in June. ENSO-neutral conditions, according to NOAA, prevailed in September.
Year to date, the first nine months of 2016 were the warmest of any year on record. This significantly increases the likelihood that 2016 will surpass 2015 as the Earth’s warmest year ever recorded. Global temperature records date back to 1880.