July typically ranks as the hottest month of the year, but heat waves in several locations around the globe, along with human-influenced climate change, helped make last month the hottest month ever recorded. Average global temperatures reached nearly 62°F, beating the record set last year by a slim 0.1°F margin, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Temperatures reached much higher in many locations around the world, including Kuwait, where the heat topped 129°F.
The July record left scientists with little question that 2016 will be the hottest year since record keeping began, given that every month since October 2015 has set a new monthly high. They warned that suffocating temperatures may become the new normal if global warming continues unchecked–and that although attributing any one weather event to climate change is impossible, the rising baseline for heat is compelling evidence of a global problem.
This appears in the August 29, 2016 issue of TIME.