July 2016 was the warmest month ever recorded, the latest in a slew of new temperature records set in the past several years, according to two new reports.
Scientists have recorded month after month of record-breaking temperatures this year, but July shattered all those records to become the hottest of any month in any year since record keeping began. The data was confirmed separately by NASA and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), and provides near certainty that 2016 will be the hottest year in recorded history.
July was 0.78°C (1.4°F) warmer than the 20th century average, according to the JMA. Locations across the globe experienced extreme heat in July, including a so-called heat dome that hit across the U.S. and record temperatures of 54°C (129.2°F) in Kuwait.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the primary body in the U.S. that tracks weather and climate data, is expected to release results Thursday.
Climate scientists attribute the spike in temperatures to man-made global warming along with a number of shorter-term climate patterns. In particular, El Niño — a phenomenon characterized by unusually high temperatures along the equatorial Pacific — drove up temperatures late last year and early this year. The start of La Niña could temper warming, if only in the short term.