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Broken Records: 2015 Hottest Summer, Hottest August, Hottest First Eight Months

Tom Schueneman's picture

Environmental writer, journalist and web publisher. Founder of

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  • Sep 18, 2015 6:50 pm GMT

Saying that it sounds like a broken record has itself become a broken record. The latest State of the Climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows August was the hottest on record, with the summer 2015 the hottest summer on record.

The first eight months of 2015 surpassed all global heat records. Summer 2015 comes in as the fifth straight record hot season in a row, and the fourth consecutive record hot month. Six of the first eight months of 2015 broke global heat records, with January and April the only two non-record-breaking months so far this year.

The past 12 months were also the hottest 12-month period on record. As summer turns to fall, 2015 is now expected to be the hottest calendar year on record, topping record  set just last year in 2014. With more heat pumping into the atmosphere from the powerful El Niño in the Pacific, winter will likely continue in record territory.

Heat by the numbers

  • Global average temperature over land and ocean surface for August 2015 was 1.58°F (0.88°C) warmer than the 20th century average, beating the previous record August heat set in 2014 by 0.16°F (0.90°C).
  • The June-August average global temperature over land and sea was 1.53°F (0.85°C) over the 20th century average, beating the 2014 record for the same period by 0.20°F (0.11°C).
  • The year-to-date global land/sea average was 1.51°F (0.84°C) above the 20th century average, beating the previous record set in 2010 by 0.18°F (0.10°C)

“For scientists, these are just a few more data points in an increasingly long list of broken records (that) is due to warming temperatures,” climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech  said in an email to ABC news. “As individuals, though, this is yet another reminder of the impact our unprecedented and inadvertent experiment — an experiment that began with the Industrial Revolution — is having on our planet today.”

Image courtesy of NOAA

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Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Sep 19, 2015


  • Global average temperature over land and ocean surface for August 2015 was 1.58°F (0.88°C) warmer than the 20th century average, beating the previous record August heat set in 2014 by 0.16°F (0.90°C).

I think that should be 0.09C.

But more generally, I believe that this idea that year X is N degrees warmer than the previous year just means we are not able to measure the total heat accumulatng in the thin layer of ocean and air layered over the mass of rock. I think most of the noise is in our measurements, not the system itself.

The chimpanzee tribe that denies global warming would freak out at this, but I think it is true: we should just accept that the CO2 is causing heat to be retained in the system, never mind the short term measurements. Watching the year to year measurements is like watching the stock market minute to minute and thinking it shows the trend.



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