NASA: Last month was Earth's hottest in recorded history

August 15, 2016 by Seth Borenstein
In this July 21, 2016 file photo, Hank, a quarter horse from Paris, Ill., stays close to a fan keeping cool inside a barn at the Illinois State Fair grounds in Springfield, Ill. Ouch. NASA calculates that just Earth broiled to its hottest month in recorded history: last July. Even after the fading of a strong El Nino, which spikes global temperatures on top of man-made climate change, July burst global temperature records no sweat. Well, lots of sweat, actually for anyone who went outside. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Earth just broiled to its hottest month in recorded history, according to NASA.

Even after the fading of a strong El Nino, which spikes global temperatures on top of man-made change, July burst global temperature records.

NASA calculated that July 2016 was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average. That's clearly hotter than the previous hotter , about 0.18 degrees warmer than the previous record of July 2011 and July 2015, which were so close they were said to be in a tie for the hottest month on record, said NASA chief climate scientist Gavin Schmidt.

Scientists blame mostly man-made climate change from the burning of fossil fuel with an extra jump from the now-gone El Nino , which every few years is a natural warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide.

Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said this is significant "because continue to warm even as a record-breaking El Nino event has finally released its grip."

NASA's five hottest months on record are July 2016, July 2011, July 2015, July 2009 and August 2014. Only July 2015 was during an El Nino. Records go back to 1880.

This is the 10th record hot month in a row, according to NASA. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which calculates temperatures slightly differently, will come out with its July figures on Wednesday. NOAA has figured there have been 14 monthly heat records broken in a row, before July.

"The scary thing is that we are moving into an era where it will be a surprise when each new month or year isn't one of the hottest on record," said Chris Field, a at the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University.

This new and all the records that have been broken recently years tell one cohesive story, said Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies: "The planet is getting warmer. It's important for what it tells us about the future."

Explore further: Stuck on hot: Earth breaks 12th straight monthly heat record (Update)

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axemaster
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 15, 2016
Can we please start dealing with this now? Where are the adults?

Surely as a people we can rise above the lowest common denominator? I don't like having my fate decided by the Flat-Earth Society.
Azrael
not rated yet Aug 16, 2016
@axemaster

"Lowest common denominator" sounds a bit elitist. I don't think we can rationally blame the least intellectually gifted among us for the warming of the planet, although everyone contributes. There are lots of factors at play.

At the risk of being labeled a conspiracy theorist, there's the (very depressing) reality that massive energy sector corporations are spending huge sums of money to subtly influence climate research and relevant government policies.

I have more faith in actual scientists resisting the subterfuge than I do the governments of the world, who seem all to eager to accept those large sums of money to offset irresponsible spending or other financial mismanagement.

The people attempting to pull strings know what they're doing. They want power and money to further enjoy their relatively short lifespans. I doubt they care about the effect they'll have on future generations that they aren't going to be around for.

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