We have been reporting that the rising global temperature is breaking records month on month for almost a year now, but July 2016 has just taken the crown. Not only is it the warmest July since records began, it is the absolute warmest month ever recorded since 1880. And the record-smashing trend currently shows no sign of slowing.
The latest figures to have been released by NASA show that the month of July was a full 0.84°C (1.51°F) above average for the month, but more concerning than that is that last month was also the hottest ever on record, shattering the last record by a toasty 0.11°C (0.2°F). This warming has continued despite the recent El Niño – which is thought to have boosted the past year's average temperatures on top of the rise caused by man-made climate change – having already passed its peak.
This means that going on NASA’s data, July is the tenth month in a row to break the monthly average, and with the release of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data tomorrow, is expected to come in at the fifteenth warmest in a row based on their figures.
The differences seen between the two data sets is down to both organizations using a different baseline period, yet despite this, they are still finding the same result: that the world is continuing to warm, and that there has been a dramatic and concerning uptick in the warming during this last year.
Not only that, but due to NASA having its baseline as the average temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980, the data already includes a certain portion of warming from when mankind first started burning fossil fuels in the 1800s. This is thought to add around 0.5°C (0.9°F) of warming to Nasa’s figures, meaning that July was actually around 1.3°C (2.34°F) warmer than global temperatures in pre-industrial times.
The heating of the planet, due mainly to the continual release of CO2 into the atmosphere by humans, has led to the breaking of the absolute record for the warmest month, but even this record was only set last year, when July 2015 matched July 2011 temperature-wise. And the trend is not showing signs of stopping. This has worried many climate scientists, who now think that the limit agreed at the historic Paris Climate Summit of keeping global warming under 1.5°C (2.7°F) is effectively unachievable unless rapid and radical action is taken now, something which seems to be lacking.