Planet Earth just broke a record. This past July, the world’s surface was the hottest it has ever been since we starting measuring its temperature, according to NASA. That means it is likely to be the hottest it has been since the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago. This record for the hottest month ever will not last long: as the planet continues warming, it will get smashed again and again.

We are on course to pass the limit we are meant to avoid – 1.5 °C above average pre-industrial temperature – in 2024, give or take a few years. Recent months have set a string of records. Globally, February was a whopping 1.32 °C above the 1951 to 1980 average for this month in NASA’s record. July came in at 0.84 °C above the average for July. So how can the planet be hotter now than in February? CONTINUE