A World on Fire: July Was Hottest Month Ever Recorded

The world is burning up.

The previously available evidence for that statement is staggering and on Thursday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. announced that July was the hottest month the planet has ever experienced since records began and that both land and ocean temperatures are on pace to make 2015 the hottest year ever recorded.

According to NOAA’s latest figures, the July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July consistently marks the warmest month of the year, NOAA said this most recent one now registers as having the all-time highest monthly temperature since records began in 1880, with an average global thermometer reading of  61.86°F (16.61°C).

NOAA’s temperature analysis follows on the heels of similar findings by both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) published earlier this week which also said July was a record-breaker in terms of heat.

“The world is warming. It is continuing to warm. That is being shown time and time again in our data,” said Jake Crouch, physical scientist at NOAA’s National Centres for Environmental Information.

“Now that we are fairly certain that 2015 will be the warmest year on record,” Crouch continued, “It is time to start looking at what are the impacts of that? What does that mean for people on the ground?”

At least for those who experienced perilous heat waves in places like Pakistan, India, Iran, and Egypt in recent weeks and months, they know those direct impacts of record temperatures can be deadly. Meanwhile, climate scientists have spent much of the year—with a special eye on upcoming UN climate talks in Paris—warning that the collective impacts of increased temperatures, both on land and in the oceans, are resulting in severe consequences for human civilization and the natural world.

More troubling than any one month, experts note, is the consistent and driving trend that has seen temperatures on a steady march upward since the beginning of the century. As Andrea Thompson at Climate Central reports:

And according to Eric Holthaus, who writes about climate change for Slate, the mounting evidence and rising temperatures are painting an increasingly scary picture of the future:

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