TIME climate change

Last Month Was Hottest September on Record, NASA Says

And 2016 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record

Last month was the hottest September ever recorded, paving the way for 2016 to be the hottest year since record-keeping began, NASA scientists said this week.

This September beat the same month in 2014 by a tiny margin of 0.004°C (0.007°F), according to NASA. The temperature is 0.91°C (1.64°F) warmer than the average September temperature in the four decades beginning in the 1950s. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which tracks temperatures slightly differently, found that this September was the second hottest September on record, by a very small margin.

“Monthly rankings are newsworthy,” says Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climatologist. But “they are not nearly as important as long-term trends.”

The long-term trends have scientists concerned. Last year beat 2014 as the hottest year on record, and scientists are now all but certain 2016 will be even hotter thanks both to global warming and a particularly strong occurrence of El Niño, which raised temperatures across many parts of the globe. Eleven of the past 12 months have been the warmest on record, according to NASA data.

The string of temperature records brings global warming close to the 2°C (3.6°F) level of warming that scientists warn could lead to the worst effects of climate change. In February, the global temperatures were 1.2°C (2.2°F) higher than average, according to NOAA.

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team