August 2015 was Earth’s hottest August on record, and the Northern Hemisphere summer period of June-July-August was the hottest summer since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Thursday. NASA rated August 2015 as the 2nd warmest August on record, a scant 0.01°C from tying August 2014’s record mark.
August 2015’s warmth makes the year-to-date period (January – August) the warmest such period on record, according to both NOAA and NASA. NOAA said that August 2015 was the sixth month in 2015 to break its monthly temperature record, joining February, March, May, June, and July. August 2015 tied with January 2007 for the third warmest monthly departure from average of any of the 1628 months since records began in January 1880 (the record warmest departures occurred in February 2015 and March 2015).
Over the oceans, August 2015 had the warmest departure from average of any month in the historical record (previous record: July 2015.) A potent El Niño event in the Eastern Pacific that crossed the threshold into the “strong” category in early July continues to intensify, and strong El Niño events release a large amount of heat to the atmosphere, typically boosting global temperatures by at least 0.1°C. This extra bump in temperature, when combined with the long-term warming of the planet due to human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, makes it extremely likely that 2015 will be Earth’s second consecutive warmest year on record.
The UK Met Office put out a press release earlier this week predicting that 2016 will continue to see record or near-record levels of global heat, and it is quite possible that Earth will see three consecutive years with record-breaking surface temperatures: 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Read More: Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog