Visitors to the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, endured temperatures around 100 degrees this July. Charlie Riedel/AP

August and July tied for the warmest months globally in 136 years of records.

The planet’s transformation into an oven in which you could steam a ham draws closer with news that August tied for the warmest month in known history.

The global average temperature was 0.98 degrees Celsius above the mean temperature for August, and 0.16 degrees warmer than the last record-hot August in 2014, according to an analysis from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. The month wound up tying with July 2016 for the warmest in modern records, which stretch back 136 years, and propels the Earth toward what’s likely to be the hottest-ever year on the books.

Places that endured unusual torridness include the Northeast U.S. and Alaska, western Russia, China, and much of Antarctica. Areas with abnormal coolness include… well, there weren’t many, as shown in this map of August’s heat spikes from NASA:

The incredible warmth was unusual in that seasonal temperatures around the world usually top out in July, not August, too. It also probably played a role in the devastating flooding that hit Louisiana in the middle of the month, according to NOAA. Here’s more from Goddard:

“Monthly rankings, which vary by only a few hundredths of a degree, are inherently fragile,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “We stress that the long-term trends are the most important for understanding the ongoing changes that are affecting our planet.”

The record warm August continued a streak of 11 consecutive months dating back to October 2015 that have set new monthly high-temperature records. The monthly analysis by the GISS team is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations. The modern global temperature record begins around 1880 because previous observations didn’t cover enough of the planet.

NASA GISS

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of yellow vest protesters in Paris, France.
    Equity

    To Understand American Political Anger, Look to ‘Peripheral France’

    French geographer Christophe Guilluy has a controversial diagnosis of working-class resentment in the age of Trump, Brexit, and the Yellow Vests.

  2. a screenshot of a video about Baltimore's Metro
    Transportation

    It’s Time to Celebrate Baltimore’s Much-Maligned Metro

    In 1987, the Maryland Transit Administration busted out a brass band to open a subway that never had a chance.

  3. A rendering of a co-living building in San Jose.
    Life

    The Largest Co-Living Building in the World Is Coming to San Jose

    The startup Starcity plans to build an 800-unit, 18-story “dorm for adults” to help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce.

  4. A photo of a street barrier in New Delhi
    Equity

    What’s Behind New Delhi’s Gated Communities?

    India’s capital city is full of private residential “colonies” protected by locked gates. But many claim the barriers don't stop crime and cause traffic chaos.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

×