This is a new kind of heat. In more than 135 years of global temperature data, four of the five hottest months on record all happened in 2015: February, March, May, and now June. This has been the hottest start to a year by far, according to data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The record heat is likely to continue as an already strong El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean continues to intensify, ripping more heat into the atmosphere. This monster El Niño may itself be on track to break records.
The animation below shows the Earth’s warming climate, recorded in monthly measurements from land and sea dating back to 1880. Temperatures are displayed in degrees above or below the 20th-century average. Thirteen of the 14 hottest years are in the 21st century, and 2015 is on track to raise the bar again. MORE